If the Phillies’ late charge toward the playoffs comes up short, fans can’t blame Jimmy Rollins. J-Roll has been hot. He had three hits yesterday and hit his team-leading 20th homer of the season earlier in the weekend against the Houston Astros, who surprisingly took three out of four games from the desperate Phillies.
But Rollins still believes that his team can somehow pass four teams to score the second wild card spot.
“I’ll believe there is hope until then [elimination],” Rollins said. “Until then, I’ll believe. The way I look at it, there is the Marlins of ’03, the Rockies of ’07, why can’t there be the story of the Phillies of ’12’ Who not us?”
Well, there are a number of reasons. A myriad of eighth inning meltdowns, offensive malaise during the first half, a plethora of key injuries and bad luck are some reasons this is the lost season.
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How do you explain losing three out of four games to the woeful Astros, who if it weren’t for the Phillies, might have never reached the 50-win total. But there is optimism emanating from shortstop.
“We can still do this,” Rollins said. “It’s not too late. If we can get this [deficit] down to two games after we play the Mets [this week], it could happen.”
Well, that might be a tall order considering that the Mets, who finished 8-1 at Citizens Bank Park this season, might be the reason the Phils fail to make the playoffs. The Phillies have had so much trouble with the Mets and they need to sweep New York and hope for a lot of help.
The even grimmer note is that the teams ahead of the Phillies only need to finish with 89 wins in order to eliminate Charlie Manuel’s squad. That total should be within reach of the Cardinals, who have an easy schedule the rest of the way.
“I know we have a challenge,” Rollins said. “But we’ve faced challenges before. I think we can pull this off. I know I’ll be trying.”