By Teddy Brenner
After taking three of four from the awful Diamondbacks, the Phillies are 66-64, 4 1/2 games behind the Braves, who are in first place in NL East.
They are in Washington for three, then Miami for three before heading to Milwaukee to face the NL Central power Brewers for three before coming home for the Rocks on Sept. 9.
By then we will have a better idea of whether there will be a Red October.
The Nats and Marlins suck, so maybe the Phils can clean up on them before they hit Milwaukee.
In most cases, the best franchises will be built from the farm system out. It’s how the Phillies built both of their eras of sustained success, first with Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Greg Luzinski, Bob Boone and more, later with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and others.
The 2021 Phillies, for many reasons, were not constructed that way. Rather, they were rubber-banded together like a collection of wrinkled baseball cards, a former Pirate here and a former Yankee there, a former National and a former Marlin, and even Galvis, who started with the Phillies, went on a world tour, and returned.
While both approaches can and have worked, the Phillies’ inability to stray too far from the .500 mark all season was due to the reality that so many of them were allowed to leave some other team. Not that the players didn’t try — not even Pete Rose tried harder on a play-to-play basis than the gift to the sport that is Bryce Harper — but they never functioned properly as a defensive unit and their lineup was ill-fitting and clunky.
It’s why the Phillies will enter September chasing the Braves, not the other way around. It’s also why the Braves might regret letting them sit in that second-place sweet spot for too long.
“Every night we take the field, it’s going to be a dogfight, I don’t care who it is,” Gibson said. “But with a veteran team, I like our chances to win those dogfights and go out there and play hard and come out on top. But every night is going to be important.”