The Phillies Could Easily Be in First Place by September 1st

MLB: AUG 25 Phillies at Nationals
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 25: Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) congratulates right fielder Bryce Harper (3) after scoring a run during the Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals MLB game at Nationals Park on August 25, 2020 in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

Despite the inconsistencies of this Phillies’ team, they are continuing to find ways to win. With a little help from a struggling New York Mets team, they could find themselves in first place sooner than later.

The Philadelphia Phillies are only 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East. I repeat- the Phillies are only 1.5 games out of first. With how the season has played out so far for the red pinstripes, you would think that they are 20 games out. However, they are within striking distance.

Phillies’ Recent Play

Since Sunday afternoon’s explosion of 15 runs, the Phillies have won three straight. Despite the two heartwrenching losses to the Pirates prior to that, they have rebounded nicely. Being 6-4 in their last ten, the Phillies have a chance to ride their momentum into a pivotal series against the Mets this weekend.

As my colleague Shaun Nestor noted the other day, Bryce Harper leads the Phillies in runs scored (59), stolen bases (twelve), on-base percentage (.414), and slugging percentage (.553). He is third across the League in OBP and seventh overall in OPS (.967).

Ronald Torreyes has been putting the super in super-utility, as Alec Kostival said a few weeks ago. His stellar .276 batting average does not even encompass his clutch hitting of recent games. Last night, for example, Ronny hit a two-run dinger to put the Phils up 4-0 over the Nationals, leading the way to much-needed insurance runs.

Let’s also not forget about JT Realmuto, who has emerged out of a killer slump lately. The Phillies’ top guys are performing at the right time, and need to maintain this style of play.

Mets Tough Schedule Ahead

Aside from a Phillies-Mets three-game set this upcoming weekend, a huge wildcard falls into the hands of New York’s upcoming schedule.

After the Phillies, the Mets do have three home games against the Nationals. However, the fun starts immediately after. They’ll host the Dodgers, then travel out west. Here, they’ll face off against the first place, Gabe Kapler led Giants, then play the Dodgers in LA again. Already dropping five of their last six games, and with hopes that the Phillies win the series over the weekend, the Mets could find themselves in second, or even third, in the divisional race.

To put things into perspective, things will not be easy for New York. They’ve lost six of their eight games against Miami. They’ve lost five of their eight games against the Nationals so far. The Mets are not beating the teams they should be beating, making matters worse for themselves. To make matters worse, there’s a chance Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom does not return until September.

The Phillies need to capitalize on this month of August. Philadelphia will also have some tougher games (i.e. the Dodgers and Padres), however are finding ways to win against the teams they should be beating. Tie that into a four-game series against the Diamondbacks, and the Phillies could have a few games in hand within the NL East divisional race by September 1st.

Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire