The Philadelphia Phillies are a strange team in a unique position.
Despite having a fair amount of talent, the club has underachieved for several years now.
This year, if you looked at the Phillies’ season in a vacuum, you’d likely assume that it has been another wasted campaign.
After all, they’re currently 54-53 and are fighting just to stay above .500.
But there is no vacuum.
Instead, there is this odd thing called the National League East, and the division is keeping Philadelphia alive in the playoff picture.
Right now, just one-and-a-half games separate the Phillies and the first-place New York Mets.
It’s going to be an entertaining race from here on out.
If Philadelphia wants to stay in the mix, a few things need to happen.
3. The Team Needs To Take Advantage Of The Remaining Schedule
Out of every team in baseball, the Phillies have the fourth-easiest remaining schedule.
That’s a massive advantage, and it becomes especially helpful when you add in the fact that the first-place Mets have the second-hardest remaining schedule in the league
If the Phillies take care of business, everything else should fall into place.
The division is right there for the taking.
Also, keep an eye out for a big series coming up this weekend.
The Phillies and Mets are scheduled to play a three-game set starting on Friday.
2. Ian Kennedy Needs To Settle In And Help Solidify The Bullpen
Ian Kennedy has had a brutal first week with the Phillies.
Welcome to the club, Ian Kennedy.pic.twitter.com/lQgWfhsrBk
— Phillies Nation (@PhilliesNation) August 3, 2021
In his first outing with the team, he allowed two earned runs over one inning of work, and in his second outing with the team, he posted a virtually identical stat line to that of his first outing.
In all, he has allowed four earned runs over two innings so far.
Fortunately, the Phillies won both games, so no damage was done.
Kennedy will hopefully settle in and return to form in the near future.
Philadelphia desperately needs this to solidify the bullpen.
Aside from Kennedy, the team only has two or three solid relief options.
1. Get Healthy
Getting healthy is the top priority for Philadelphia right now.
#Phillies roster moves:
—Andrew McCutchen to injured list with left knee inflammation; Andrew Knapp reinstated from paternity list.
—Vince Velasquez to injured list with blister on right middle finger; Enyel De Los Santos recalled from triple A.
— Scott Lauber (@ScottLauber) August 2, 2021
Of those players, McCutchen, Eflin, and Brogdon are the ones that Philly needs back the most.
McCutchen is working on a great season.
He has an OPS of .815, an OPS+ of 122 and has gone deep 20 times in 98 games.
Eflin has been one of the team’s best starting pitchers.
He has a 4.17 ERA, 3.67 FIP, and 1.25 WHIP over 18 starts.
And Brogdon has been a great bullpen piece this year.
He has a 3.89 ERA over 42 appearances.
Each of these players will provide a huge boost to the Phillies upon their return.
Phillies fans are getting impatient with the team’s inability to crack the playoffs, but it’s too soon to give up on the 2021 campaign.
There is a lot of baseball left to be played, and there is a very real chance that the NL East will come down to Game 162.
It will be very interesting to see how everything unfolds.