On Saturday, Aug. 22, the Phillies lost in walk-off fashion to the Braves. It was their fifth straight loss and they had fallen to 9-14. After the game, Bryce Harper had some comments. 

Guess what? After Thursday’s walk-off win over the Nationals, the Phillies have now won nine of their last 10. As the great Mel Allen would have said, “how about that?” 

Not only that, but the only loss was the game where the Braves scored 10 runs in the second inning and the Phillies nearly came back, losing 12-10 after cutting it to 11-10 in the bottom of the eighth. 

Rhys Hoskins has been on fire of late, especially with the long ball. He’s hit six homers in his last nine games. Andrew McCutchen has been excellent at the plate since a slow start in the first few weeks. J.T. Realmuto is himself and Bryce Harper’s having a great year. Overall, it’s been one of the better offenses in the NL, heading into Thursday ranking second in the NL in OPS. Oh, and Harper had a pretty cool play on defense Thursday. 

Co-aces Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola have been pretty sure things this season. The rest of the rotation is far less reliable, though Jake Arrieta is capable of breaking out a gem (or melting down) and Zach Eflin is capable of holding down the three spot in the rotation. 

The bullpen remains the problem, but that’s an issue for lots of teams and sometimes relievers settle in. 

Things are certainly trending in the right direction for the Phillies under first-year manager Joe Girardi. This hot streak has put them in a great position, especially regarding the upcoming schedule. Here’s what is left. 

  • A four-game series against the Mets, who are 17-21. 
  • Two games against the Red Sox, who are legitimately one of the worst teams in baseball.
  • A ridiculous seven-game series against the Marlins that includes two doubleheaders. Truly anything could happen here, but keep in mind the Marlins are 9-16 since that likely-fluky 7-1 start. 
  • Three more against the Mets.
  • Four against the Blue Jays, which will likely be a tough series. 
  • Four against the Nationals, who are now 12-23. 
  • They close with three against the Rays, who are likely the second-best team in baseball after the Dodgers. They also have a five-game lead in the AL East and could have the number one AL seed wrapped up for at least part of the series. 

Pretty workable, no? 

Now, there’s a caveat. Teams get hot. It’s entirely possible the wheels fall off this thing and the Phillies start playing awful baseball again at the drop of a proverbial hat. 

If they don’t, however, with the way they are playing and that schedule, the division is still on the table. The Braves only have a 2 1/2 game lead over the Phils at this point and their rotation is in shambles, as they are running out Josh Tomlin, Robbie Erlin and Tommy Milone for starts. 

In this truncated 60-game season, what a difference 10 games can make, huh? The Phillies are right back in this thing. All they had to do was listen to Bryce Harper and win nine of 10. 

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