After getting swept by the Miami Marlins over the weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies reached the exact midway point of their season.
Following a 5-2 defeat Sunday, the Phillies have lost five straight. They are a season-high 11 games back in the National League East, and they are a season-worst nine games under .500 at 36-45.
Yet after the game, most of the veteran players in the clubhouse were quietly confident about making a push toward the postseason in the season's final 81 games.
"I think there is a lot of baseball left," closer Jonathan Papelbon said of whether there was time left to make something of the season. "I was in a situation where a team was down nine games with a month to go. So if you want to ask me that question, I say, 'Hey, there's still plenty of time.'"
Just last September, Papelbon's Boston Red Sox entered September in first place while the Tampa Bay Rays faced a nine-game deficit in the American League East. When the regular season ended, Tampa Bay advanced to the postseason, while the Red Sox were on the outside looking in.
"There's no reason to throw in the towel or wave the white flag by any means," Papelbon said. "By any means."
But the Phils are certainly in a dangerous position. Their current record is the worst by a Phillies team through 81 games since 1997, when a Terry Francona-managed team went on to lose 94 games.
The current Phillies are on pace to lose 90 games. But, with a quiet confidence, they don't believe a rough first half will be repeated in the season's final three months.
"I don't see why not," injured right-hander Roy Halladay said of making a run. "It's up to us. It really is. We can tuck our tails, or we can fight. There's a chance we fight and still come up short, but I'd rather do it that way than admit defeat halfway through the year. I think we've got a long ways to go. Getting Chase (Utley) back, (Ryan Howard) is coming back, I feel like I can pitch better.
"We've got a lot of things that can improve that I think we're looking forward to in the second half. I believe we have the mentality that we're going to go out and play hard. If we come up short, we come up short, but I don't think it's going to be due to a lack of effort or a lack of interest. I feel like we have a chance, and we're going to go out and play that way."