After a brutal 7-3 loss to the Marlins and yet another bullpen meltdown (the alien abductors have given the real Chad Durbin back to us, just in time for the stretch run), the Phillies sit 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets in the NL East, and along with Ed Wade's red-hot Houston Astros (kill.me.now.), 4 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers, with whom they start a four game series tonight in Philadelphia. Yes, the Phillies miss CC Sabathia, but they still have to face Ben Sheets, and Sunday's finale is set up for another scintillating performance from one of Kyle Kendrick, JA Happ, and Adam Eaton.
Not exactly a time for optimism.
SURE, they were in worse shape last season, 7 games with 17 remaining, but the landscape has undoubtedly changed. Those 2007 Mets lacked a real ace like Johan Santana, who can single-handedly stop any losing streak, and although David Wright had a very good September last year, it pales in comparison to the other-worldly Carlos Delgado, as dialed-in of a hitter as I've ever seen.
A four-game sweep of Milwaukee, with the Kendrick/Eaton/Happ beast somehow keeping the Phillies in the game on Sunday, and prayers that the Astros cool down, might be all we can pin our hopes on at this point.
To paraphrase Frank Zappa, "The Phillies are not dead, they just smell funny."