For a while there, those plucky Phillies didn't seem to know that they were supposed to be losing a bunch of games. They kept winning all those close, one-run contests, stealing wins and seemingly gaining more confidence with each passing victory.
But when it is the Chicago Cubs staring across the field at them, the Phils have played the victim to the Cubs' bullying.
In four games against the best team in baseball this year, all losses, the Phillies have been outscored 23-9, and they have not really been in any of the four games. Last night's 6-4 loss was the closest margin of defeat, and they only got that close by scoring four in the 9th inning.
The Phils have played with a carefree spirit for most of this year, but it seems to disappear early in every game against the Cubs. It seems as if the Phillies are a little intimidated by Chicago's massive array of talent.
There is a reason the Cubs have raced out to 40 wins already, the fastest any team has reached that total since the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who won 116 games that season, most in baseball history. They're dang good. The Cubs have been beating everyone's brains in, so the Phillies are not a special case.
But it is how the Phils have played in their four games against Chicago that is revealing.
In these plays, Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco just seem kind of "out of it," like their heads are someplace else. And by the end of the night, with his team trailing 6-0, Galvis could not have been less enthused by his three-run homer.
I've never seen someone so sad while hitting a 3 run homer pic.twitter.com/AM1bN023tL— chris jones¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) June 7, 2016
The Cubs have gotten into a lot of teams' heads this year, but they seem to be renting a room inside the minds of these young Phillies.
The energy hasn't been there in the four games against Chicago in the way it has been against other teams. The Phils have played sloppier, less enthused baseball, and it's fair to assume they are a little intimidated by the Cubbies.
The Phillies are getting pushed around, and it's going to be hard to win until they punch the bully in the mouth and take their lunch money back.