A week ago the Phillies sat lifeless, ready to have whatever willing and motivated playoff contender gut and raid their valuable commodities. But after a 5-2 record over the past week that includes series wins over two of the “best” teams in the National League and an encouraging 3-2 win last night, here you are talking yourself into maybe letting this thing play out. Maybe.
Lots of people are going to point to the Ryan Howard injury as another reason to close up shop this season, but forget that. Losing Ryan Howard, the viable power threat and middle of the order presence would be crippling. Losing Ryan Howard, the one-legged shell of his former self who is performing barely above replacement level, isn’t going to matter. This isn’t some commentary on Howard. I like the guy. If he’s healthy he can still be a useful player, but he’s not currently healthy and he’s not currently a useful player, so what’s it matter?
Still, why consider prolonging this shit? Well, because A) despite conventional wisdom, trading for prospects doesn’t ensure future success. B) If there’s a chance you can win, then maybe you should try to win. The Phillies have consistently established their mediocrity through 90 games. It would be virtually impossible to label any component of this team as exceptional. But it’s not really the Phillies’ play that warrants hope; it’s actually that the Braves and Nationals are both complete ass.
Atlanta rode a hot two weeks to a big lead and has been mediocre since. BJ Upton can’t hit his fucking weight and former ascending star Jason Heyward has completely crapped out. Their offensive strengths aren’t consistently sustainable. They have and will continue to leave the door open for the Phillies and Nationals. And if you haven’t been paying attention Washington is a team that possesses one of the worst five offenses in baseball on merit.
Everyone wants to assume the Phillies are going to either play themselves back into contention or play themselves out over the next three weeks. That would be convenient, but when you look at their mediocre competition, this buy/sell/stay put thing is only going to get more complicated as the deadline nears.