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The Hangover?

This week, the Phillies and their fans note with relief both the merciful conclusion of interleague play and the month of June, in which the Phils held onto their first-place perch in the NL East despite an 11-15 record for the month and losses in 12 of their final 16 June games. This isn't a new story, of course: the Phils almost always struggle in June, and they're usually particularly awful facing the American League. Rarely is a team happier to turn a calendar page. 

But what happens next? Two weeks remain until the all-star break, a stretch in which the Phillies face two of their division pursuers--the Braves, in a series that started with last night's 5-4 loss, and the Mets at home this weekend--and two NL Central clubs, the Reds and Pirates. None of those teams are juggernauts, so the clubs would seem to have an opportunity to regain some of the momentum lost in the prolonged debacle of play against the AL East. Recent history suggests, though, that an immediate bounceback might be unlikely. 

Year W/L Opponents Record at start Record at ASB
2005 6-7 @Mets, Braves, @Pirates, Nats 39-37, 4th (5.5 GB) 45-44, 4th (7.5 GB)
2006 3-3 Padres, Pirates 37-44, 2nd (11 GB) 40-47.2nd (12 GB) 
2007 7-9 @Cardinals, Reds, Mets, @Astros, @Rockies 37-35, 3rd (2.0 GB) 44-44. 3rd (4.5 GB)
2008 8-5 @Braves, Mets, Cardinals, D'backs 44-39, 1st (1.0 up) 52-44, 1st (0.5 up)

In each of the last four years, the Phillies ended the period between interleague and the all-star break in worse shape in the division race than when they started it. So while June is thankfully dead and gone, we might not be out of the woods just yet.