- Paul Swydan, ESPN Insider
Ryan Howard has not yet played a game. Neither has Chase Utley. Cliff Lee missed three weeks, and so did Vance Worley. Roy Halladay has missed two weeks, and may miss several more. And now Utley's replacement at second base, Freddy Galvis, is out, and he may miss significant time. It seems that things have been bad all year for the Phillies, and that they could get worse before they get better. The team has dropped eight of its past nine, and have fallen four spots this week in the ESPN Power Rankings to a season-low 20th place. And yet, it is still not yet time for Philadelphia to cut bait on the 2012 season.
Yes, the Phillies find themselves in dead last in the National League East, and eight games back to boot. But even with the recent slide, their run differential for the season is still just minus-1. That is a better mark than their division-mates in Miami and New York, who are at minus-28 and minus-19, respectively. And with the extra wild card added this season, the Phillies need not finish any higher than third in the suddenly stacked East.