Go Ahead, Dream a Little as Phillies Open Massive Series Against Mets

PHOTO CREDIT: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For the Phillies, a late-inning rally that spurs a comeback win isn’t a new achievement. In fact, this flawed-but-resilient team has managed four such victories over the last 11 days.

But the one they staged against the Nationals to complete a four-game sweep in Washington yesterday felt, I don’t know, different. Didn’t it?

Maybe it was the context.

Many of those previous come-from-behind victories simply helped avert disasters. For instance, take Brad Miller’s grand slam against the Nationals last week. It was a big moment for a then-struggling team, but it merely helped the once again .500 Phillies avoid an embarrassing doubleheader sweep and a series loss to a Nationals squad that was, quite literally, in the midst of a teardown. This time around, a comeback meant matching a season-best fifth straight win, along with a chance to match their high-water mark of four games over .500.

Maybe it’s because of what comes next.

The 7-6 victory may count the same in the standings as all other wins, but this one undoubtedly means a little bit more. It means the Phillies now return home tonight with an unexpected chance to suddenly snatch first place from the reeling Mets. It means setting the stage for a weekend that should bring the most fan excitement and anticipation through the gates of Citizens Bank Park that anyone around here has seen in a long, long time.

Maybe this latest ninth-inning fight was different because of who authored the blows.

Down to their last strike, J.T. Realmuto picked his team up off the mat by delivering a game-tying double into the right-center gap. Two batters later, Rhys Hoskins provided a stunning knockout blow with a two-run single that capped a remarkable turn of events.

If the Phillies are to outpace the Mets and now streaking Braves down the stretch, it must be Realmuto, Hoskins, and Bryce Harper who lead the way. For a core that has so often failed to show a killer instinct, one that has struggled to produce truly memorable moments in key situations, a sequence such as this one can do wonders in creating confidence and belief.

Now to acknowledge the obvious.

Not even looking through the reddest of Phillies-red glasses changes the outlook that this team remains deeply flawed. And a pessimist this morning will note the Phillies’ current five-game winning has come against two opponents that are a combined 38 games under .500.

But you know what?

After giving you plenty of reasons not to believe for four months, the Phillies finally gave a reason to believe yesterday — it’s all right if you want to dream on it.

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