The new German Rollercoaster in Leipzig, Germany. Photo: Jan Woitas
Sometimes the Phillies season feels like a rollercoaster. They get swept really solidly at home by a team like the Houston Astros and then go out on the road with that hanging over their heads, and start to win. This is what a long season does to you as a fan. You’re up, you’re down, and you start to get a little exhausted with the streaks that sometimes come out of a baseball season.
The Phillies championship runs of the past few years in the NL East have been just like that. The team isn’t a team that is going out there and dominating every team that they face, in fact, it’s very much a surprise at what you’re going to get from day to day and night to night with them.
When a team like the Pirates, Nationals, or Astros face the Phillies, you just don’t know what you’re going to see. You would guess that the Phillies would be able to put teams like those away fairly easily but the opposite is true most of the time. Remember last season when the lowly Baltimore Orioles came to Philly and swept the Phillies? This is what I mean by ‘the Phillies rollercoaster’. It goes up and then down, and it takes many turns throughout this long baseball season.
Another part of the ‘coaster is the players on the team. You have a couple good fill-in players on the team for the better part of 6 weeks and the team does great. The players on the DL for the Phillies have not really hurt the team as badly as one would think that it did. When the stars who were on the DL (Victorino, Utley, Howard) returned, the Phillies play on the field somehow got worse, and the losses started to pile up. How could this be? Maybe it’s just part of the ‘coaster?
We’ve seen this season turn and turn and spin like a top. Plays like Jimmy Rollins slide to score the winning run in 12 innings on Friday night/morning, very much tells a story about baseball and the Phillies, you can never give up and never count the Phillies out. This team reminds me of the 2008 team that won it all more everyday. They have the pieces of the puzzle to win it all, can they assemble this puzzle to make it all happen in the playoffs and then World Series again? We’ll see.
On Sunday, August 29th, the Phillies are still in 2nd place in the NL East. They are 2 GB from the Braves, even though they lost 4 games in a row at home this past week. September will tell the whole story and it's almost like a new 'mini-season' now as it will be a sprint to the finish line in the NL East.