If a team wants to be in playoff contention in mid-September, a viable strategy may be to give up in July.
That is what the Philadelphia Philliesdid on July 31 when they traded away Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino in separate deadline deals. Despite that, the Phillies were four games back in the National League wild-card standings entering Wednesday’s games. The Milwaukee Brewers gave up even earlier, letting Prince Fielder leave as a free agent before the season started and trading away the team’s best pitcher, Zack Greinke, on July 27. They were also four games out.
The thought of the Phillies making the postseason may seem comical, but with a six-game winning streak the team is clearly entertaining the idea.
“You hear it’s a cliché that this is what you play for, for September, but it’s true,” shortstop Jimmy Rollins told reporters after Tuesday’s win over the Miami Marlins. “We have a lot of flags but we don’t have a wild-card flag, so this would be a good time.”