For the Philadelphia Phillies, the month of May is a reliable litmus test of their ability to stay in the mix of the NL East division race. With almost half the month behind them they’ve held their own.
Going into their brief two-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Citizen’s Bank Park, the Phillies have played .500 ball over their last ten games. That’s the same win/loss percentage as the division leading Atlanta Braves. Only the Washington Nationals at 7-3 have a better record.
Granted, the Phillies have their work cut out for them, but there is something to be said for not losing ground. It’s been a bumpy month and one that still hangs in the balance. If the Phils are going to end the month at or above .500, they’ll need to pick up the pace.
This coming weekend finds the Cincinnati Reds in town. Led by Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds have the ability to put crooked numbers on the scoreboard in bunches.
Following the Reds, the Phils get a breather with a three-game visit to the Miami Marlins. The biggest challenge in that series may be staying motivated in a ballpark that’s often 90 percent empty.
The competition heats up as they leave Miami and head north to take on the divisional rival Nationals. It may be the best test they’ve had all season. And with the rivalry now firmly established, nothing would boost the Phillies hopes more than a series win over the pesky “Gnats”.
Last but not least on the May calendar is a four-game “home and home” series with the Boston Red Sox. The Bosox find themselves in a tight race with the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. Many fans would agree that this series provides the opportunity for the best entertainment of the schedule just because it is the Red Sox.
Oh, the month also has the first game of a three-game series on May 31 against the Milwaulkee Brewers. But, that’s for another time.