Somehow, as the games on the schedule dwindle and each contest becomes more "must-win" than the previous one, the Philadelphia Phillies stay in contention. It seemed like all was lost after losing three of four in Houston two weekends ago. Now, with 11 games to play, they're hanging around, though they'll need some help.
"Keep going," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of looking ahead. "We need to do that tomorrow."
The Phillies topped the Braves on Friday, 6-2, to continue a four-game winning streak and stick around in the hunt for the second wild card spot. With Friday's win, the team is 39-24 since the All-Star break and is the hottest team in the NL outside of Milwaukee.
"I'm proud of them," Manuel said. "I've seen times when we could've folded (the) tent. It got close to that. But usually when you're losing during in the season it does. And that's a mark of a bunch of guys who love to play and definitely want to win."
The Phillies still have a long slate ahead of them, with games against NL East Division leader Washington and Miami on the schedule and a couple teams in between them and a Wild Card spot. Nonetheless, the Phillies are still enjoying the ride.
"This is a playoff push right here," Ryan Howard said. "This is what you play for. To be in the hunt, with everything that's gone on this year, being three games out right now, it's a fun feeling. It's an exciting time."
Along with the rebound of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, plus the steady hand of ace Cole Hamels, the Phillies' streak can also be attributed in part to Kyle Kendrick, who's been stellar for the Phillies in the second half. He's 5-2 in his last seven starts.
"I'm confident in what I have when I'm out there and who I am right now and what kind of pitcher I am," Kendrick said. "My stuff's gotten better. Guys are going to have bad games. You've just got to bounce back and stay with it and try not to do anything too different."