By Seth Everett
Tonight, the Phillies will have a celebration if they beat the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves lose to the New York Mets. That combination would lead the Phillies to clinching the NL East for the 5th consecutive time.
The accomplishment is not a small one. This weekend, they can even accomplish the clinching of the best record in baseball. Then, we can officially focus on October.
This month seems to be dragging. The 3 game losing streak was a blip on the radar screen. Guys continue to get hurt, with Utley, Howard, & Rollins slowly getting back into a groove.
Biggest concern is the bullpen, more specifically Antonio Bastardo. He needs to get back on track, and that scares me, but not for 2 more weeks.
The Phillies are the favorite to win the World Series. The biggest threat in the National League is still Milwaukee. Despite the Phils taking 3 of 4, the Brewers didn’t have their pitching lined up, so that series didn’t exactly go the way the playoffs might.
The American League is very interesting at this point. The 2 best teams to pose a threat to the Phillies’ plans are actually not in the playoffs if the season ended today. The Angels have rotation depth, with Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, & Ervin Santana. The Rays feature David Price, James Shields, Jeremy Hellickson, and more.
The 4 teams in it all have too many pitching questions. Boston could answer that if Josh Beckett returns strong tonight, and becomes an ace to complement Jon Lester. The other 3: New York, Detroit, & Texas all have 1 starter who has ace-like stuff. Sabathia, Verlander, Wilson are a great trio on 3 separate teams! The Phillies have 3, on the same team.
Alas, (always wanted to use that word in print) the Phillies can only accomplish 1 thing at a time. Let’s raise our glasses to a 5th straight NL East. Bring on October.
I’ll be on WPHT 1210am all weekend either before or after the games vs. St. Louis. Follow me on Twitter @seth_everett. And please “Like” my new Facebook page that you can find by searching Seth Everett.