The Phillies are 45-46. They've just taken two of three games against the Braves and Pirates, and won the first two games against the Nationals. That makes them 6-2 in their last eight games, all against teams with a winning percentage over .500. The Pirates were the best team in baseball, and the Braves also lead the NL East. So, that's pretty impressive, considering the Phillies current lineup (Revere, Rollins, Utley, Brown, M. Young, D. Young, Ruf, Ruiz) is 30.1 years old. But, what does that all mean? Are the players just auditioning for other teams? Or, are they showing that they can play as a group and win?
The Phillies are in a tough spot. They have their World Series winning core (Utley, Rollins, Hamels, Howard, and Ruiz) intact, but they are all aging. They brought in some young talent (Revere, Brown, Ruf) to help mix their team. So, should the Phillies turn to their prospects and sell, or should they buy, and let their team carry the rest of the way.
Ruben Amaro Jr., the Philles GM (pictured above), announced this morning that they will be buying for the first time since 2011. Last year, on July 10, the Phillies were 37-50. That would compare to this year's Minnesota Twins who are currently 37-50. I believe the Phillies are better than the Twins, and good enough to buy. Let me tell you why.
Cole Hamels looks like he's back to his old self. In his past two stars (both wins), Cole has 15 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 12 SO. Those are Cy Young quality numbers. So, if Cole and Cliff Lee can become a good 1-2 punch, the Phillies may be very good in the second half. And, Pettibone, Lannan, and Kendrick can deliver good enough starts to win.
I believe this year's offense doesn't have the same problems in the past. Ben Revere is hitting .301 out of the leadoff spot, and Domonic Brown has 23 HR. Utley has been classic Utley, and Michael and Delmon Young have been decent as of late.
With some bullpen help, the Phillies can gain the 5 1/2 games they need to get into the playoffs. If they get a win tonight and get to .500, it's all up from here. Ruben, buy now, and worry about the future when it comes.