Where will the Philadelphia Phillies be in the National League's Wild Card standings by the time they reach the twenty-first night of September? A classic 1970s' tune, "September", by "Earth, Wind, and Fire", could lyrically announce that the Phillies are more than pretenders by that day.
By September 21
After completing their three-game home series against the Marlins today, the Phillies have a road trip planned. They will face the Houston Astros in a four-game set and then the New York Mets in a three-game series. Unless weather has affected the schedule, the Phillies will have played 150 games before they return to Citizens Bank Park.
After their seven-game road trip, the Phillies have an off-day on September 20 and a three-game series against the Atlanta Braves that's set to begin on September 21. By that time, there will be less than two weeks left in the season and only twelve games showing on the schedule.
Obviously, what the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, and Arizona Diamondbacks do between now and then matters. So, a continuing review of their schedules will be important as well.
Regarding the eight games that the Phillies are scheduled to play before September 21, a minimum 6-2 record should keep their hopes alive.
By the way, "September" was released in 1978. While that wasn't a championship, or pennant-winning season, it was a Phillies' playoff year. And yes traditionalists, there were no Wild Card options available at that time.
Clearly, Philadelphia's playoff odds remain long. Regardless of what happens, at least this team is providing some excitement for its fans. Plus, the experience of meaningful late-season baseball is always beneficial to every team member.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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