His nickname is 100-miles Giles, and he has propelled his way into the setup man role with the Phillies in an astoundingly short amount of time. Credit: Getty Images His nickname is 100-miles Giles, and he has propelled his way into the setup man role with the Phillies in an astoundingly short amount of time. Credit: Getty Images

 

The Phillies are above the .500 mark in the months of August and September.

 

They also sport the big league's best bullpen since August 5th, a unit with an incredible 1.99 ERA in 33 games (prior to Wednesday night). Closer Jonathan Papelbon has almost quietly put together one of the best seasons a Phillies' closer has ever had, and recently shut the door on a combined no-hitter.

 

They have Cole Hamels, whose 2.56 ERA is top five in the majors, as well as the third leading batter in baseball (Ben Revere) and the fourth most prominent run-generator (Ryan Howard).

 

They have up and coming Maikel Franco making strides in the majors as well as veterans Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins (recently injured inching out a triple).

So why are they mired in last place, double-digits below the .500 mark, and on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention?

One possible (and likely) reason is the starting rotation. With Cliff Lee in the 60-day DL since midsummer, Cole Hamels has been leading a group of inconsistent and going-nowhere starters.

Kyle Kendrick has the worst ERA in the major leagues. A.J. Burnett has given up the most walks in baseball and David Buchanan can be dynamite one day and a nightmare the next.

There also seems to be a power outage. The team is 51-31 when they hit a home run, but 14-45 when they don't. Their 119 homers puts them right in the middle of the pack despite playing in one of baseball's best hitters park (just 62 of these homers came at home) and sporting sluggers Howard, Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown and the underutilized Darin Ruf on their roster.

There are positives about this team to be clear. But the negatives are certainly undeniable. Had the Phillies perhaps tweaked a few things early in the season, they might have found themselves just a little bit closer to contention in a lackluster NL East.

Instead, fans are left in purgatory, with a team not willing to do what it takes to rebuild, nor to contend.