The Phillies are 3 games back with 19 games to play.
Just typing that sentence makes no sense. What in the world is going on here?
Joe gave you the reasons for the Phillies surge yesterday. Today, I'm giving you a graphical record of just what we've witnessed over the past two months.
The graph shows how far each team is from the second Wild Card spot on any given day starting at the All-Star Break. The Braves, who are a virtual lock on the first Wild Card spot, are not included. Nor are the teams that are leading the division now (the Reds, Nationals, and Giants) or the teams that are irrelevant (Rockies, Cubs, and Astros). The data points above 0 are for days that team was in the division lead.
(Click on the image to see it in larger form.)
Obviously, the best part of this chart is the Phillies wonderfully ascending line.
But there are other things to note here. First, the steep drops for the Marlins and Mets should make all Phillies fans happy. Both teams are so bad now that it's almost hard to remember that they were legitimate contenders at the Break. Also of note is the surge from the Brewers, arguably just as impressive as the Phillies' surge, though the Phillies were in worse shape for a longer period of time before surging. The Padres have also put on a nice run of late.
In fact, the Padres and the Phillies have climbed the most of all the teams here from their nadirs. On August 2, the Padres were 17 games back. They've moved up 10.5 games to only 6.5 games back before the start of play today. The Phillies have moved the same 10.5 games. On August 8, the Phils were 13.5 games back but they're now down by only 3 games. Both teams have accomplished an undeniably impressive feat, though the Phillies have done it in 6 fewer games and stand 3.5 games closer to the second Wild Card.
I'll update this chart as the Phils' charge continues, but for now, as we await more great baseball from the Phillies, with this chart we can marvel at the graphical beauty of this team's amazing comeback.