The Phillies’ Before and After Test

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Andres Blanco
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 3: Andres Blanco /
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The Blue Uniform Is Appropriate After Eickhoff Allowed Two Hits in His Rehab Start for Reading and Suffered the Defeat. Photo by H. Martin/Getty Images.
The Blue Uniform Is Appropriate After Eickhoff Allowed Two Hits in His Rehab Start for Reading and Suffered the Defeat. Photo by H. Martin/Getty Images. /

At a crucial juncture despite the competition and the standings, general manager Matt Klentak of the Philadelphia Phillies is paying close attention to the last seven contests before the All-Star break and will heavily monitor the six games after the downtime.

Upcoming Outcomes Magnified:

When you appear to have nothing to lose and everything to gain, a look into your situation may change another’s perception of you.

Since the Seattle series, the Phils are 4-3 with just five games remaining before the mid-season intermission. And then the front office will do an organization-wide evaluation of all players, but the parent club will receive the most scrutiny. From, however, a performance standpoint, producing a 4-3 record or better against the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres is important psychologically because it will amp up the regulars for the first contest of the second half. Winning does that.

Wanting to know how the Phillies will do after the break, Double D, a poster from another site, seemed to overlook the influence these two series will have on the hurlers and hitters during their brief vacation. Ben Lively, Jeremy Hellickson, Nick Pivetta, Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff will each have one last start before the All-Star break; and each – especially Eickhoff – wants an outing to build on. Additionally, Odubel Herrera, Maikel Franco and Cameron Rupp have a similar goal: seven games to put up good numbers and show management they are heading in the right direction. Meanwhile, the skipper and his coaches also need some victories to gear up for the second half.

While Pittsburgh is competitive, their decline is noticeable, but being a small-market team with limited financial resources will probably mean rebuilding. Lately, the Pirates, Double D, came to Philly on a three-game losing streak and will then travel to Chicago for three contests with the Cubs. But they also have struggled on the road with a 17-24 mark. And they are seven games behind the division-leading Brewers in fourth place. But because both Wild Card berths will probably be from the NL West, the Bucs must win the NL Central to make the playoffs.

Leaning on the dugout railing, Nola and Eickhoff talked about the scouting reports regarding San Diego. They’re only hitting .227 and are last in the majors in average and runs scored. Yeah, but we can’t take them lightly or we could regret it. And Eickhoff also pointed out he’ll watch them on Saturday when Nola pitches.

As a franchise, the Padres acquired expensive stars for 2015: some by taking on another team’s bad contract to add the piece they desired. Then, their GM made trades last year with partial medicals provided to other organizations, which led to his 30-day suspension. And now they’re going with younger players.

"FOOD FOR THOUGHT:   “Life is like the baseball season, where even the best team loses at least a third of its games, and even the worst team has its days of brilliance. The goal is not to win every game but to win more than you lose, and if you do that often enough, in the end you may find you have won it all.” – Harold S. Kushner"