Following the Phillies’ clean four-game sweep of the Nationals this week, the Phillies stand a mere 0.5 games behind the Mets in the National League East.
What is at Stake for the Phillies
Believe it or not, this weekend’s series is the Phillies’ last home divisional series of the year. Yup. The Phillies’ last home game against an NL East opponent is on August 8th this year. The Phillies have three-game sets against each of their divisional rivals (two sets against the Marlins) left from late August to early October, but all of them will take place on the road.
|Washington Nationals||Monday 8/30 – Wednesday, 9/1|
|Miami Marlins||Friday 9/3 – Sunday 9/5 | Friday 10/1 – Sunday 10/3|
|New York Mets||Friday 9/17 – Sunday 9/19|
|Atlanta Braves||Tuesday 9/28 – Thursday 9/30|
Given that the Phillies’ final 15 divisional games are on the road, it is imperative that the Phillies execute while they have home-field advantage. The Phillies are 31-21 at home this season while the Mets are 23-32 on the road. The Phillies have not played their best ball on the road this season, so it is important that the Phillies jump on the opportunity now to take as much ground away from the Mets as possible.
Speaking of ground, the Phillies have a very real opportunity to seize first place in the National League East this week. With a record of 56-52, the Mets have held first place in the NL East since May 8th. Despite the Phillies’ ups and downs throughout the season, they have only ever been six games out of first place at worst.
The Mets, who have struggled with injuries throughout the season, have not been able to break away from the pack in the NL East. Now, it appears the time is ripe for the Phillies to usurp the Mets and regain first place in the NL East for the first time in months.
The division title, however, is not the only reason to visit Citizens Bank Park this weekend if you are a Phillies fan. This weekend is the Phillies’ annual Alumni Weekend. Hall of Famers Steve Carlton, Pat Gillick, and Mike Schmidt will be in attendance as well as Phillies Wall of Famers such as Bobby Abreu, Garry Maddox, Greg “The Bull” Luzinski, and Charlie Manuel.
On Friday, the Phillies will kick off the weekend by honoring former president and chief executive officer David Montgomery. Montgomery was posthumously awarded the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award in Cooperstown on July 24th. Montgomery, in addition to leading the Phillies during the 2008 World Series team, made a huge impact on the Philadelphia area through Phillies Charities Inc. and helped raise $20 million for the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia.
The Phillies will unveil a new Hall of Fame Awards display in Montgomery’s honor in the Hall of Fame Club at Citizens Bank Park on that night.
On Saturday, August 7th, the Phillies will induct second baseman Manny Trillo into the Phillies Wall of Fame. Trillo was the starting second baseman of the 1980 World Series team and was dubbed the NLCS MVP that year. Among his honors, Trillo was a four-time All-Star, won three National League Gold Gloves, and two NL Silver Slugger Awards.
Fans in attendance will receive a Manny Trillo Wall of Fame Print.
To close out the weekend on Sunday, August 8th, the Phillies will retire the number 34 in honor of Hall of Famer Roy Halladay. Halladay, who passed away in 2017, threw a perfect game in 2010 against the Marlins before pitching a no-hitter in the 2010 NLDS against the Cincinnati Reds.
Halladay will join the ranks of the following players who have also had their numbers retired by the Phillies: Richie Ashburn (1), Jim Bunning (14), Dick Allen (15), Mike Schmidt (20), Robin Roberts (36), and Jackie Robinson (42).
In honor of his number being retired, a pregame ceremony will take place including an appearance by batterymate Carlos Ruiz, fellow Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, and former teammate Raul Ibanez. A six-foot-high No. 34 statue will be unveiled at the Third Base Plaza. Every fan in attendance will receive a replica of the statue.
Newcomer Kyle Gibson will kick off the series for the Phillies on Friday night as he faces Marcus Stroman for the Mets. Ranger Suarez will then make his second start since joining the rotation on Saturday against rookie starting pitcher Tylor Megill. Zack Wheeler will round out the weekend for the Phillies going up against Taijuan Walker.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire