Philly Sports Live

5 Straight and Just 5 Out of the Wild Card

The Phillies have won five consecutive games for the first time since they won six straight May 13-18, and they have won 13 of their last 17 games to improve to 70-71. It is the first time they have been one game under .500 since June 5. They are 5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card spot.

Did manager Charlie Manuel think the Phillies could get back to .500 after being 14 under on July 13?

“Yeah, I did,” Manuel said. “I think somewhere along the line, you do play good baseball during the season. Really good. If you stay with it, I think you’ll hit streaks. I think baseball is streaks. If you haven’t hit one during the season and you’ve got one coming … if you do it at the end of the season, it can be real rewarding.”

New “Ace” Kendrick¬†(9-10, 3.83 ERA) is helping in a big way. He is 5-1 with a 1.49 ERA (seven earned runs in 42 1/3 innings) in his last six starts, and 7-2 with a 2.34 ERA (15 earned runs in 57 2/3 innings) in 15 appearances since the All-Star break. He retired the first seven batters he faced Monday before walking Rob Brantly with one out in the third inning. He did not allow a hit until Brantly singled to center field to lead off the sixth.

Before the game, Manuel said 85 wins might be enough to clinch a Wild Card spot. If that is the case, the Phillies would need to finish 15-6 (.714). They have been playing at a better pace than that over their last 17 games.