Last night was one of those games for the Phillies. They managed to get a 7-6 victory over the Rockies after being an out away from losing the game.
This is a big victory in so many ways. The Phillies were fortunate Todd Helton forgot to put his leg in the base that would have ended the ninth inning and take the game to extra innings. Losing to a terrible Rockies team would be the lowest point of the season. They were able to form a winning streak. They started the homestand off to a great start by being in a position to sweep.
Maybe Helton’s mistake could be the turning point of the Phillies’ season. For that to happen, the Phillies need to go on a run for the next few weeks. They can start by sweeping the Rockies this evening, and that is something they should be doing considering their opponent is terrible.
A sweep could be what the Phillies need to get something going. It’s time to get on a run by winning the next few weeks. They need to be above .500 by the time the All-Star break commences.
They can’t be further behind in the standings, and they can’t be 10 games below .500. If that happens by July, this could force the Phillies front office to start a fire sale by trading Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels.
By trading their assets and cutting payroll, it would be a message to the fans and the rest of the players that the Phillies have given up. This would be the wrong message to send if they actually do it. That’s why this stretch is important.
The Phillies are not good enough to win a championship, but they should be a playoff team. It would be a shame if that did not happen.
If the Phillies can hang in there by the All-Star break, they should be in good shape. They will get Ryan Howard and Chase Utley back after they are activated from the disabled list. Those two should give the team the boost they need as long as they can produce after the injury.
The Phillies still have a shot to be a playoff team despite their deficiencies with the lineup and the bullpen. The Mets, Marlins and Braves are not that good, so the five-time defending National League East Division champions can leap past those teams.
It’s possible for the Phillies, but they need to get something going right now. If they play terrible in this 10-game homestand, they are going to put themselves in a hole that they may not get out of. There is so much to lose in this homestand.
Sweeping the Rockies should be a goal, and that should be feasible. Failure to sweep them will be a disappointment, and it would ruin the momentum of what the team created.
Then, they need to take two of three against a Rays team that has had a hard time hitting since Evan Longoria landed on the disabled list.
They have to find a way to take three of four against an improving Pirates team. That would complete a good homestand if they can accomplish that.
This homestand should be where the Phillies must make hay. The great teams find a way to win most of their games in their long homestand. That should tell where the Phillies are.
A good homestand could give the Phillies much-needed confidence heading to July. This is where we find out a lot about them. They have to find a way. It’s June, but it’s not early anymore. It’s time to start winning some games.
The Phillies were fortunate they did not trail by 11 games in the NL East to start the homestand. Anytime a team trails by double digits in the standings, it means the first-place team doesn’t have to worry about that particular team. The Nationals being swept by the Yankees over the weekend helped the Phillies stay in the division race.
These next few weeks will determine what the Phillies do. It will be interesting how they respond.
The Helton play has the Phillies talking about a turnaround but it won’t mean a thing if they don’t parlay it into a long winning streak.