The last two weeks of Phillies baseball have shown the wear and tear that comes with a 162-game schedule. The Phillies were asleep behind the wheel while they hit their final West Coast trip for the season, and injuries had begun to stockpile.
Seranthony Dominguez and Nick Castellanos are prime examples of guys who have gotten a little banged up here and there as the stretch run has gotten underway. The Phillies are just 4-5 in their last nine games and have lost some ground in the standings. Septembers have been nightmare fuel for the team in recent seasons, and their start this September has been much of the same.
Slowly but Surely
The Phillies were able to bounce back from their road trip with back-to-back wins over the Miami Marlins. A three-game sweep should have been the outcome, but another bad outing by the bullpen led to a loss on Thursday night.
David Robertson suffered the loss and blown save. He has looked shaky in his last couple of outings, and the veteran has seen a decrease in velocity. Robertson is a good option in the back end of the bullpen, but his temporary role as closer shows how badly the club needs Seranthony back.
The Phillies were able to ride the hot hands of Jean Segura and Edmundo Sosa in their two wins over Miami. While the team capitalized on the spark provided by their two heroes, the team needs to catch on fire if they wanted to make some noise in the Wild Card.
The Milwaukee Brewers sit 3.5 games behind the Phillies for the final spot in the National League post-season, and the Phillies are flip-flopping with the Padres for the second spot. The playoff race is certainly not over, and one team on the outside will look in when it is all said and done.
How to Start the Fire
How the Phillies can gain momentum back
Step one: Sweep the Nationals
The best way to start the fire will be to sweep the Washington Nationals. The Nats are one of the worst teams in baseball, and anything less than a sweep will be unacceptable for a team aspiring for the post-season. Taking care of the Nats will be the first step in starting the fire.
Game one went as planned, as the Phils picked up a 5-3 victory Friday night.
Step two: Phillies offense needs to return
The next step for the Phillies to catch fire needs to be the long ball. The team has struggled to put the ball over the fence as of late, and their lack of home runs has affected their offensive production. While banking on hitting home runs is certainly not the best approach to winning baseball games, swinging at better pitches and being aggressive early in counts certainly will give the club a better opportunity to let it fly.
Step three: Play with an edge
The final step in starting the fire is to play with some more emotion. The fiery spirit that Jean Segura displayed Tuesday night following his walk-off single was exactly the kind of emotion the team needs right now. Playing with some passion and wearing it on their sleeves every play is what Phillies fans want to see.
The fans are ready to bring the intensity and are starving for playoff baseball. The Bank will carry the torch if the Phillies light the fire. Playing good baseball down the stretch and making the playoffs is something we can all agree all parties want. Supporting the club and watching them go on their run is shaping up to be an exciting way to spend the month of September.