That’s what Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com says. Despite the Braves and Nats playing below expectations and despite a seemingly surmountable six and a half game deficit, history is not on the Phillies’ side:
The Phillies are seven games under .500. From 2008 to 2013, there were 44 teams at least seven games under .500 at the end of play on June 2. Only five of those 44 teams finished above .500 . . . 39 of those 44 teams failed to finish with a winning record.
So you’re saying there’s a chance?
Hardly. Those five teams were exceptions.
Seidman goes on to explain how unusual those five teams were. Basically: all of them had extended winning streaks at some point. While one can’t predict those sorts of thing, nothing the Phillies have done suggests they have a bunch of dormant capabilities waiting to burst free.
Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.
Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.
Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.