PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s approaching late August and the Phillies are still relevant. They have a manager the fans don’t appear to like (though they’re still in the playoff picture). They have a nauseating, underachieving offense. They possess a shaky bullpen and an unsettled batting order.
Yet they’re still two games out of the National League Wild Card picture entering games on Aug. 21.
Just when the fan base thinks that it’s out, the Phillies pull them back in.
This time last year, they were three games better at 67-58 with a far weaker team — and no one was interested. Going 21-34 in the final 55 games scuttled the 2018 Phils, but these Phillies don’t appear to be so eager to flop over just yet.
This is a team that lost seven straight at one juncture and haven’t won more than four consecutive games at any one time. They’ve looked brilliant and swept the city away in one moment, like Bryce Harper’s walk-off bomb that capped their dramatic six-run ninth inning to beat the contending Chicago Cubs on Aug. 15.
Then, they lost two-straight games at home to the sad-sack 59-67 (as of Aug. 21) San Diego Padres.
These Phillies have been aggravating, mesmerizing and confounding.
Still, fans have been flocking to Citizens Bank Park in droves, a bright spot on this year’s blighted Major League Baseball attendance problem.
Through 66 home games, the Phillies lead the MLB in plus/minus difference from 2018 up 483,396 in overall attendance and plus 7,324 per game.
The sports talk airwaves are still full of Phillies’ chatter, and the Eagles are 18 days away from their season opener.
Face it, there’s no escaping this Phillies team.
Call it the rubbernecking car-wreck factor or the fact that no one knows what they’ll do next — including their own manager.