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19-3: How to Drive a Stake Through the Hearts of Your Challengers

The Phillies are 19-3 over their last 22 games.  They lead the NL East by 7 games over the Marlins.  The Braves sit 8 games back, the Mets 10.5, and the Nationals 27.  This is what you can safely call a commanding lead.  Of course, there are still two months-plus of baseball to play, but the Phillies are in the proverbial driver's seat here.

The amazing part about what the Phillies have done is that they've built this lead while their competitors are not playing bad baseball.  In fact, the Marlins and Braves are playing pretty good baseball.  And yet, because the Phillies are playing sensational baseball, some of the best I've seen from them in my life as a fan, the Marlins and Braves are falling further and further behind.

To illustrate, take a look at how the NL East has played since July 3, when the Phillies started their tear.  At the start of play that day, the Phillies were tied with the Marlins, both leading a razor-close four-way race in the NL East.  The Phils and Marlins were only 1 game ahead of the Mets and 2 games ahead of the Braves.  And yet, since then, here's how things have shaken out:

Phillies 19 3 -- 143 69 +74
Braves 13 9 6 85 74 +11
Marlins 11 9 7 114 77 +37
Mets 9 12 9.5 72 93 -21
Nationals 9 14 10.5 109 108 +1

The Phillies' dominating play has lapped the field here. Look at the Braves and Marlins in particular. The Braves have played just under .600 ball over the past 22 games. And yet they've lost 6 games in the standings. The Marlins have outscored their opponents by 37 runs and played .550 ball. And they've gone from first place to third, behind by 7 games.

This is how you not only dominate your competitors but also completely demoralize them. When they play good ball, you leave them in your dust by winning 19 out of 22.