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Philadelphia Phillies 2016 Wild Card Chances

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An 0-4 start to the National League season by the Philadelphia Phillies appeared to confirm what most in baseball suspected - that it was going to be a long year on the diamond in the City of Brotherly Love.

 

A team that has endured five straight losing seasons since winning the NL East Division title with a 102-60 slate in 2011, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin

Odubel Herrera

set as a goal at the start of the season to play .500 baseball.

 

And lately, it doesn’t seem like such a pipe dream.

 

 The Phillies entered the All-Star break 42-48, riding a 10-3 hot stretch as the mid-season classic arrived and with 13 more wins than at the same point last season, which happens to be the biggest improvement by any team. This is the same ball club that finished 63-99 in 2015—the worst record in the big leagues. A year ago, the Phillies entered the all-star break with a 29-62 record.

 

 Offense is driving the resurgence of the Phillies, and it’s creating a sensation about this team that hasn’t made the playoffs in five years. Since June 21st, the Phillies lead all of baseball in hits (198), batting average (.307), slugging percentage (.515) and on-base plus slugging (.868).  Everywhere you look in the Phillies’ lineup, there is cause for excitement regarding the club’s young players.

 

Have a look at who Phillies play next, scan their entire schedule, find out the best betting lines for every Phillies game and heed some tips on how to make more money from your bets.


 Leadoff hitter and center fielder Odubel Herrera, 24, Philadelphia’s lone representative in the All-Star Game, leads the team in batting average (.294), on-base percentage (.378) and stolen bases (12).

Maikel Franco

 

Lately, however, the straw that’s been stirring the drink for the Phillies is third baseman Maikel Franco.

 

Just 23, Franco is the team leader with 18 home runs and 52 RBI. Much like the Phillies, Franco has heated up with the summer weather. He entered the break on a roll, riding a 10-game hitting streak, batting .450 (18-for-40) during that span.

 

Then there’s catcher Cameron Rupp, considered an old hand on this young team at 27. Rupp’s .507 slugging percentage tops the team, as do his 17 doubles and .836 OPS. When Rupp clouted a 465-foot homer in Philadelphia’s last game before the break, it was the longest round trip ball slugged by a Phillies player since Ryan Howard took one 475 feet deep in 2011. Well, it was the longest until later in the same game, when Franco clubbed a home run ball 471 feet.

 

If there’s a concern with this team, it’s on the mound. Philadelphia is ninth in the NL in earned-run average (4.35) and just four staffs in the league have surrendered more hits than the 807 coughed up by Phillies pitchers. Only the Colorado Rockies (154) have served up more home runs than the Phillies (114).

 

While there’s a buzz about the Phillies, it is tempered for that reason. Bodog, Bet Online, Bet365 and 5Dimes continue to list Philadelphia as +50000 to win the World Series. While Bodog sees the Phillies as +20000 to capture the NL pennant, making the postseason doesn’t seem entirely out of the question. The team still sits fourth in the NL East, but are only six games out of the second NL wild card playoff spot. 

The Phillies can make a statement that they are for real, right off the bat as they come back to work—opening with home series against two division rivals ahead of them in the standings, the New York Mets and Miami Marlins. After that, they embark on a nine-game road trip, so we should know quickly whether this uptick by the Phillies is merely a hot streak, or an indication that they are truly headed in the right direction.

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Franco thumbnail: mccall.com