PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — By May of last year their season was over. The Phillies were 17-34, sitting in last place in the National League East, 15.5 games out of first place and sinking even faster.
A year later, a new outlook in new manager Gabe Kapler, mixed in with some fine pitching by Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, and some timely hitting, most notably by Nick Williams, and the Phillies are 32-28, three games out of first in the NL East.
This weekend could mean a lot.
The Phillies are coming off of a 3-7 road trip in which they blew a 5-3 lead in a walk-off grand slam and were outscored in San Francisco 12-1.
Now, they have the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, the National Central Division leaders who have the best record in the National League, at 37-25.
The Brewers are carrying a three-game winning streak into the series, and they’ve won four of their last five, whereas the Phillies have lost five of their last seven.
Winning two of three, or possibly even sweeping Milwaukee, would prove that the Phillies can be a contending team.
June could be the make-or-break month for the Phillies, who won’t face a team below .500 until they host the lowly Baltimore Orioles on July 3.
If the Phillies continue to stumble, they may not get out of June with any postseason hopes, despite Kapler’s eternal optimism.