This upcoming home stand for the Phillies could dictate the direction GM Ruben Amaro Jr. may go at the deadline. As of July 4 the Phillies are 9 games out of the wildcard and 9 and 1/2 back of the NL east leading Atlanta Braves. Starting Saturday they will play Atlanta for 3 games, the Washington Nationals for a 4 game series, and end it with 3 games against the Chicago White Soxs. Then it’s the All-Star break.
The Phillies need to win at least 8 of these games and preferably all against the Braves and Nationals as those game basically count as two. If they don’t fair well then you can expect some changes in scenery for some of the players such as Utley, Paplebon, Ruiz, Michael Young, Delmon Young, and maybe even Lee.
Things they will need to do right in order to end the first half on a good note will be Ryan Howard snapping out of his current slump. Howard has been struggling mightily since his solid June performance. He is going to have to fight through this soreness until they reach the break where he can get some much needed rest. Delmon Young and Ben Revere will need to continue raking the ball as both have been in a grove at the plate. Last, but not least, the bullpen will need to have a bend but don’t break performance, we know it’s unlikely they will pitch lights out, and keep the game under control until they can get the ball to Paplebon’s hand in the 9th.
Yes, there is a lot that needs to be done in order for them to have success but it’s the hole they have dug themselves in.