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MLB Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia Phillies Suddenly Find Themselves Closing Gap In NL East

Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

And just like that, things can change in MLB

As recently as last week everyone was saying the Philadelphia Phillies were done. Kaput. Down for the count. Nothing but a bunch of overpaid old men and underachieving young guys who had forgotten the fundamentals of playing good baseball. Fans were getting ready for a massive fire sale at the trade deadline as the last remnants of the team that won a World Series in 2008 were sold off and traded away to begin a rebuilding effort many thought should have started the previous year.

But all of a sudden the Phillies have started winning.

It hasn’t always been pretty and it has been the epitome of a team effort, but the Phillies have started to string some wins together. So many that going into Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Braves they are only five games out of first place in the NL East and a half game behind those same Braves to move into third place in the division.

Yes, they are still seven games under .500 and have a lot of ground to make up if they are serious about making a playoff run. The Phillies need Cliff Lee to return to the mound with the same power he had before he went on the DL, and they need Cody Asche to come back from his hamstring injury and play with a consistency that he hasn’t been showing this year. And it goes without saying the Ryan Howard and Dominic Brown have to start hitting the ball with purpose.

If all of those things happen and the Phillies continue to perform like they have something to play for, it could be a very interesting time in Philadelphia as the trade deadline gets closer. Because instead of selling, Ruben Amaro Jr. might be looking to add a piece or two to give the Phillies that extra something they need to make it Red October in Philadelphia again.

Ryne Sandberg said that he felt that if the Phillies could get hot at the right time and go on a win streak, they would be right back into the thick of the pennant race. It would seem that he was right.

David Goodman is a Philadelphia Phillies writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillyGuyDave or add him to your circles on Google.