The Phillies may have just had their best week of the season.
Just in time, right?
Yes, those Phitin' Phils just swept the first place Washington Nationals on Wednesday night to raise their record to 61-72. They have won four straight and six of their last seven, and it's got some people asking questions.
The #Phillies have 29 games remaining and are 9 games out of the wildcard. #justsaying #WhySoSerious— 97.3 ESPN FM (@973espn) August 28, 2014
Actually, the Phils are 9.5 games out of the NL Wild Card, but what's a half-game between friends?
Of course, even mentioning the playoffs in conjunction with the Phillies is ridiculous, the prime difference between the Phils and other potential playoff teams being, well, that those other teams are actually good.
But it would be gauche to do a sarcastic piece on the Phils' non-existent playoff chances after a week that saw them take two out of three from the 72-60 Seattle Mariners, two out of three from the 71-61 St. Louis Cardinals, and all three from the 75-57 Nationals.
The combined winning percentage of those three teams is .550. So yes, it was a very nice week.
The offense scored 32 runs in the last seven days, tied for 2nd in the NL over that span. Their nine homers and wOBA of .336 were both tied for 4th, and their .776 OPS was 4th-best.
And over the last week, Jimmy Rollins has put up a 0.5 fWAR alone, hitting .333/.462/.619 with two home runs, four runs scored, four RBIS and three stolen bases. Ryan Howard has also been hot, hitting .412/.524/.647 with a homer and four RBIs. Darin Ruf, Grady Sizemore, Carlos Ruiz, and Marlon Byrd all hit over .300 as well.
As a staff, the Phils' team ERA in the last week was 4th-best in the NL, at 2.84. The starters' ERA of 3.43 was 7th-best, while the bullpen had a tremendous week, posting a 1.53 ERA, 3rd-best in the NL, striking out 9.17 batters per nine in 17.2 innings.
Obviously, we're only talking about a week here. But it shows that even a bad team can beat good teams when they hit with runners in scoring position, get effective starting pitching and stand-out relief work from the bullpen.
It's a bit reminiscent of the crazy 13-game winning streak of 1991, of which there is sadly no video online anywhere. That team was a group of dead-men walking who went 78-84, and were 40-58 when that 13-game winning streak began. It remains the longest winning streak in the team's modern era and one of the most bizarre two-week long strings of success in MLB history.
The 2014 Phils have not reached that level of silliness yet, but the last week certainly has been more enjoyable than most of the season, even with the continued distractions of a supposed player-revolt against the manager and the continued poor play of Domonic Brown.
Yes, each win helps move the Phillies one step further back in the MLB Draft order for next year. But while I'd love the Phils to get as high a draft pick as they can, it is nice when the team can play spoiler against some of baseball's best.
So, it's been a fun week, Phillies. Let's try to do it again soon.