The Fat Lady Hasn't Sung... Yet

It was Yogi Berra who uttered words about things not being done until the fat lady sings. Well, all around Philadelphia, fat ladies have been readying their voices to ring in the end of the Phillies season. Fortunately for the Phillies, a recent hot streak has those ladies cooling their voices as the Phils ponder their postseason possibilities.

Remember those dismal days of not long ago? We were all screaming for Larry Bowa to be fired, for Ed Wade to be fired, for the team to be sold, for Citizens Bank Park to be imploded. It was true chaos in Philly Land. My, how things can change.

A ten game road trip faced the Phillies with stops in Atlanta and New York against division rivals. Taking three out of four in Atlanta and sweeping all three in New York have suddenly made the Phillies worthy of postseason dreams. Unfortunately, losing the first game of a three-game series in Cincinnati shows just how difficult climbing into a postseason spot will be for the Phillies.

Currently, the Phillies stand five games behind San Francisco in the NL wild card standings. The fact that they're five games out isn't the hardest part. The fact that they have five teams to pass is the real tough part. Still, there's hope.

Three games ahead of the Phillies are the Marlins and Padres. San Diego has won their last two games, but have been mediocre of late. San Diego's schedule is tough, with 12 of their remaining 18 games against Los Angeles and San Francisco. The other six are against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The fact that the Giants and Padres have six games left against each other will be interesting to say the least.

Talk about tough schedules, how about those Giants? Six with San Diego, six with Los Angeles and three at home against Houston. The only break comes the next three days when they play in Milwaukee. The Giants are playing with the backdrop of Barry Bonds going for homerun number 700. It would be interesting for him to get 700 in Milwaukee, where homerun king Hank Aaron spent many good seasons.

Besides a three-game trip to San Francisco, the Astros - who are currently just one game behind the Giants - play six against St.Louis, six with Milwaukee and finish the season at home with a three-game set against Colorado.

The Cubs have five games against Pittsburgh, eight with the Reds, a three-game trip to New York and finish up with a three-game series at Wrigley against Atlanta.

Now, back to our friends in Florida. The Marlins have six games against Montreal and six against Atlanta. The key will be the other seven games, which are against the Phillies, including the final four-game series in Philadelphia. Basically, it will be those seven games that go a long way toward determining the fate of our Phillies.

It's well documented that the Phillies have had a tough time with Florida. That must end if the Phillies are going to make the postseason. Just the mere fact that those are seven games that the Phillies will definitely need, the fact that they're against another wild card contender make them huge. In fact, the Marlins are the only team that the Phillies can really make any difference against, since they don't play any of the other wild card contenders.

If you figure that the other contenders play .500 ball the rest of the way, then the Phillies would have to go 15-4 the rest of the way to make the postseason. It was thought that 90 wins would be necessary to make the playoffs and if San Francisco wins nine of their remaining 17 games, they would finish with 88 wins.

Is 15-4 possible? Well, it would start with winning the final two games in Cincinnati. The Reds haven't won a home series in almost three months, so that's not out of the question. Next up is a three-game series at home with Montreal. With six games left against the Expos, the Phillies would likely need five wins. The Phils also have a three-game series at home against Pittsburgh, in which they would need to win at least two out of the three. Games with Cincinnati, Montreal and Pittsburgh could give nine wins, meaning the Phillies would need to win six of seven games with Florida. Not a likely scenario. Of course, if the Phillies can pick up an extra win or two against Montreal or Pittsburgh, or if the other teams play under .500, the scenario gets a little rosier.

The fact is that unless the Phillies get on a major streak and put together another seven or eight wins in a row, the postseason looks pretty bleak. They'll need a lot of help and have to hope that nobody ahead of them gets hot. If they do, it's all over in Philadelphia and the fat lady auditions will be in full swing.

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