The Phillies return home from a successful road trip, going 5-2 highlighted by a four-game sweep in Cincinnati against the Reds for the first time since 1917 and for the first time in their 129 year history the Phillies were 42 games over .500
Obviously, the inevitable is right around the corner. Sitting at 88-48, the Phillies need only to play sub .500 ball the rest of the way just to break the 100-mark. If they were to finish out the month of September 12-14 they’ll get it. Higher up on the absolutely likely scale is the clinching of the NL East. The Phillies are 7.5 games ahead of the Braves for first place in the division with no signs of relinquishing that lead in the near future. Only Milwaukee (44) and Detroit (38) have more wins than the Phillies’ 34 inside their division. Philadelphia will face their NL East counterparts in 15 of their remaining 26 games left in the regular season. Their last 10 games in September are all against the NL East.
Sitting 7.5 games up, there’s precious little time for Atlanta to have any chance of catching, let alone surpassing the Phillies. The teams will play six more times this year beginning tonight with a three-game series in Philadelphia. This could be the Braves’ last ditch effort to claim the division. Anything short of taking two of three from the Phillies and they’ll no longer be clinging to any hopes of winning the division. The task is difficult, but it may prove to be more daunting now than ever. Atlanta is without two of their frontline starters, Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson.
Waiting in the wings later this week is the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers are 84-57 with best home record in the majors (50-19). They’re 6.5 games behind the Phillies for the NL’s best record and top seed come playoff time. Milwaukee is the only NL team to produce more post-All Star break wins than the Phillies. The Brewers with both firepower on the mound and at the plate may present the only real threat standing in Philadelphia’s way en route to the World Series.
The Phillies are now scheduled to play 26 games over the next 24 days with doubleheaders scheduled against Florida (Sept. 15) and Washington (Sept.20).