The Phillies’ ten game season began on Friday at Citi Field. Ten games between the all-star break and the trading deadline that will determine whether the Phillies keep their roster mainly intact or break it apart piece by piece. Ten games to decide their fate.
The Phillies are 1-2 in their abbreviated season. If you believe in such things as fate, for the Phillies to lose a series to the bottom feeding Mets was not a good sign. The Phillies had one easy team on their ten-game schedule and they lost that series. The Phils get to play the best team in baseball in the Cardinals for the next three days, then the first place Detroit Tigers, and then one game with Giants (at 7 games below .500). Losing to the Mets had to be the final straw for Ruben Amaro, right? I mean, if you can’t beat the Mets, who can you beat?”
But hold on a second. The Phillies played two different teams in New York this weekend. They split two games with the 31-43 (.419) New York Mets and then lost a one-game series to the 12-8 (.600) Matt Harvey Mets. The team the Phillies faced on Sunday might have been the best team in baseball – it is hard to lose with Matt Harvey on the mound, especially on Sunday when he was about as close to unhittable as a pitcher gets.
There is no escaping the importance of every Phillies win at this point of the season, but a split with the Mets and a loss to Matt Harvey does not signal the end of the season. What it does signal is that the Phillies not only need to win two straight series against first place clubs, but they probably have to sweep one of them.
If the Phillies take two of three from the Cardinals and Tigers they will be one game over .500 before playing their “last game” against the Giants – that is certainly not good enough for me to bet on the 2013 Phillies. But sweeping a series and taking five of six puts them 4 games above .500 before the Giants. That, along with five wins against great teams at a crucial moment might force Ruben to go for broke.
It all starts tonight.
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