Philadelphia Phillies

First place Phillies look to extend their lead in the division

It’s August 2nd and the first place Phillies are actually in first place

Before this season started, not many people would have thought that on August 2nd the Phillies would be in first place. After the last few seasons, many fans understood that the Phillies were rebuilding and were moving in the right track. Not many people saw this coming. The first place Phillies start the month of August with just a .5 game ahead of the Braves.

Four games against the Marlins

Although the Phillies are just a half-game ahead of the Braves, there is a great chance to extend their lead. The Phillies will start their month of August with a division series against the Miami Marlins. Miami comes into this series with a record of 46-63 this season. When you pair their overall record with their road record (20-32), this equates to a huge opportunity for the Phillies.

The Phillies are coming off of a split with the best team in baseball, the Boston Red Sox. It was just a two-game series in Boston, but the Phillies should have won both games. Aaron Nola threw an absolute gem in game one of the series. In game two of the series, the ball went to Jake Arrieta. All Arrieta did was throw seven innings of one run baseball, and that was more than enough for the Phillies to make a statement win.

The final stretch

These last two months of the season are going to be huge for this ball club. The first place Phillies have exceeded expectations thus far, but their work is not done. Manager Gabe Kapler has said it all year long, the expectation is to make the playoffs.

The problem for this young Phillies team has been its inexperience. If you have watched this team play this season, then you know what I’m talking about. Poor defensive, extremely un-timely at-bats, and some clear lack of focus. With all of that being said, this has been a very exciting team to watch. This might be the most exciting this about this first place Phillies team. If they have been able to position themselves where they are now, especially considering everything I just mentioned.

Following the trade deadline, the Phillies made some moves. If you are reading this article, then you are aware of the additions to this ball club. Asdrubal Cabrera provides a veteran infielder as well as a switch-hitting bat for this team. I expect to see Cabrera continue to play some shortstop as well as all over the infield when needed.  Wilson Ramos might be the best addition that this team added. Ramos will provide both defensive help behind the dish, as well as more of a reliable bat compared to Jorge Alfaro or Andrew Knapp.

Toughest test

The second half of the season will be the toughest test for the first place Phillies. There is a lot of youth on this team, some have not played a full 162 game season before. When you pair this up with the fact that the Phillies still have 37 games remaining inside of the NL East. This includes the four-game series with the Marlins that starts tonight.

I think we can all sit here and be honest. The Marlins and the New York Mets are not teams that the Phillies really need to worry about. With that being said, the Phillies cannot and I mean CANNOT just look past these two teams. That is how a first place team can slip and have a disastrous end to a season. Come on, we all remember the 2007 Mets.

The more realistic test for the Phillies will be the Nationals and Braves. The Phillies play the Nationals nine more times this season and play the Braves seven more times. I think that every Phillies fan out there knows that the Nationals will turn it on during this second half. All the Phillies have to do is win at least four of the games against the Nats.

Winner take all

The Braves has been the biggest thorn to the side of the Phillies all year. There is a very real possibility that the fate of the NL East will come down to the last three games of the season. Atlanta comes to Philadelphia for the last series of the regular series. This could be for all of the marbles, and a division crown.

That is why it is so important for the Phillies to extend their lead in the division every opportunity that they get. That starts tonight against the Marlins.

P.S. just thought I would include the Phillies‘ latest odds to win this year’s World Series.

Statistics from this article are from espn.com
Featured Image by makeonlinesimple via pixabay.com

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Alex Peters

My name is Alex Peters. I have been a baseball fanatic since I can remember. Right now I play baseball for Penn State York. I live and die for baseball. Winter is my least favorite season, I'm sure you can guess why.

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