August 26, 2023
The Phillies fell behind for the seventh straight game Friday night, but for the seventh straight game, they clawed back from it.
Garrett Stubbs was the hero this time, sparking the rally with his game-tying, two-run double against the Cardinals.
On Monday against the Giants, it was Bryce Harper hustling around the bases at warp speed for an inside-the-park home run.
The next night, it was Trea Turner, who after all of his struggles this season, ripped a two-run single off the glove of All-Star closer Camilo Doval for the walk-off and a break he desperately needed.
And a few days before down in Washington, it was Nick Castellanos, who launched a three-run bomb to the opposite field in the seventh after the Phillies were getting shut down all day, setting up for what quickly became a 12-run surge.
They fell into a hole seven times but found a way to climb out of every single one. They still ended up losing some, sure – frustratingly so. But they won more. And above all, the Phillies haven't truly been out of any of them. And maybe just as important, with the way the lineup has been hitting of late, anyone can be the hero right now.
“I don’t think that our lineup really has any let up,” Stubbs, who had the honors Friday night, said after the 7-2 rout of St. Louis (via MLB.com's Todd Zolecki). “Obviously, we have some horses up there at the front, but it’s not like you get down to 7-8-9 and there’s nobody left.”
So no lead is ever safe – not from Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm, Brandon Marsh, Jake Cave (when he's on), and not from Stubbs when he gets the call behind the plate, and definitely not when the order gets back to the top with Harper, Castellanos, J.T. Realmuto, and Kyle Schwarber up there.
And whether it's just a one-run hole or a four-run deficit, anywhere from the first through the ninth, it doesn't seem to matter. These comeback kids will find a way.
Down but never out – probably the scariest thing you can say of a team for any other club in a Wild Card chase, and that's what the Philadelphia Phillies are right now.
Per the Phils' own tracking, Friday night's win over the Cards was their 22nd victory since returning from the All-Star break, and the 18th where they have had to stage a comeback to get the job done. This month alone, 11 of the Phillies' 13 wins have been the result of a comeback, including each of their last seven dating back to August 10, when they wrapped up their last home series against the Nationals.
Ideally, you'd much rather have the Phils playing ahead from the jump – it's much easier on the heart that way, and pitching can do a lot to help remedy that. Still, a win's a win, and the Phillies are finding ways to them regardless of the scenario, which speaks volumes both to their confidence and resiliency right now (the pinstriped overalls are doing a lot for the former too).
They're 70-58 entering Saturday night's second of a three-game set against St. Louis, hold a three-game lead over the top NL Wild Card spot with the Diamondbacks and Cubs tailing behind, and key to all of it has been that the Phillies might get down but are never truly out.
It's the mark of a great team – those golden-era Phils from over a decade ago now, especially the '07 and World Series-winning '08 squads, had that trait – and it's just about the scariest thing you can be to any other club in a Wild Card chase.
The comeback kids. Down but never out.
That's what the Philadelphia Phillies are right now, and there's no reason to stop.
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