The Phillies are a team of contrasts.
They have the league’s leading MVP candidate in Bryce Harper, the best catcher in baseball in J.T. Realmuto, some solid role players in Jean Segura and Andrew McCutchen, a Cy Young caliber starter in Zack Wheeler and a young pitcher with tons of promise in Ranger Suarez.
They also have a deeply struggling former ace starter in Aaron Nola, a number of bench veterans who are playing way more than they should, and young prospects like Alec Bohm, Spencer Howard, Mickey Moniak and Adam Haseley who have failed to make an impact.
On the field, drama has reigned.
They’ve had an 8-game winning streak and a 6-game winning streak. They’ve lost 4 in a row 4 different times. Their offense goes on insane hot streaks, then hits .232 with five extra-base hits against an Orioles team with a league-worst staff ERA. Their path to the postseason has been dizzying.
Its been a long season pic.twitter.com/VOmBS0KO77— Aidan Arnold (@aidanma_doesnt) September 24, 2021
This year, the bullpen has blown a team-record 32 saves. They blew 7 in 6 games at one point this year as well as 8 in 9, some more crushing than others.
But they’ve also had a remarkable number of incomprehensible victories this season, none more so than last night’s 12-6 comeback over the Pirates. After the struggling Nola put the Phils in a 6-0, 3rd inning hole, a lineup that hadn’t been able to string together any kind of offense against the woeful O’s exploded for 12 unanswered runs.
Incredibly, it was the second time this week the Phillies overcame a deficit of at least six runs and beat a team by more than six runs in the process.
That doesn’t happen very often.
More on the #Phillies comebacks from @EliasSports:— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) September 24, 2021
They've now won 3 games this month after trailing by at least 6 runs.
The only other team to do that in any calendar month:
Pop Corkhill's 1884 Cincinnati Reds, of the late, not that great American Association.
Regarding tonight's @Phillies comeback:— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) September 24, 2021
-4th time this year they fell behind 6-0 (or worse) and came back to win, tying the 1987 Reds for the most in the modern era
-3rd time this month they came back from 6+ runs down to win, most by any team in any month in the modern era
Last week, they bewitched the Cubs and overcame an early 7-0 hole for an improbable 17-8 win.
On July 29, the Nationals had a 7-0 lead in the 3rd before Brad Miller eventually walked it off with a grand salami...
...and they did it to Washington again when they crawled out from under a 6-0 deficit in the 6th inning to win 7-6. In all, 11 of the Phillies’ 79 wins have been walk-off victories, including the Luke Williams Game against the Braves on June 9, the first of three straight walk-offs wins for the Fightins.
Even after last night’s dramatic ending, the Phils’ postseason odds, per Fangraphs, remains at just 25.4%, although it did give themselves a legitimate chance to catch the Braves, who must finish a suspended game they trail 5-4 in the 6th inning this afternoon followed by three more in San Diego, all ahead of a huge showdown between these two clubs next week in Atlanta.
Yes, the Phillies have been allergic to forward momentum in 2021, but the season has certainly not lacked for drama.