Phillies: Deadline’s X factors for 4 NL Wild Card teams

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 05: Rhys Hoskins #17 and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after closing out the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 05, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phillies won 7-3. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 05: Rhys Hoskins #17 and Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after closing out the MLB game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 05, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Phillies won 7-3. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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If Smyly is back to his pre-surgery self, the Phillies may have found a rotation southpaw. Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images. /

The Fightins:

Many locals are underestimating the Phillies trades due to lacking pizzazz. Rotation-wise, left-hander Drew Smyly has a 3.00 ERA here despite an overall 7.01 ERA, but the control pitcher may have a shorter time frame to be effective again after returning from TJ surgery, while flamethrowers take longer.

Southpaw Jason Vargas relies strictly on finesse and can supply six frames on many occasions. In fact, he has rebounded from a career-worst 2018 with a 6-6 mark and a 4.09 ERA this summer. Plus the soft tosser offers a different look from others on the five-man staff.

In the bullpen, the red pinstripes have acquired right-handers Blake Parker and Mike Morin. Parker has a 4.57 ERA for 41 outings, and Morin has a 3.77 ERA over 29 opportunities. Meanwhile, Nick Pivetta as a late-inning option opened some eyes with his first MLB save, and he has a 2.31 ERA for 11 2/3 relief frames.

As for the offense, Klentak picked up Corey Dickerson who is hitting .315 with six homers and 29 RBIs. Plus he’s a solid left field defender who could be the regular there and allow Bruce to perform the bench role the GM had in mind. Perhaps, Dickerson who has a .367 OBP  may be the leadoff man going forward.

After the Chicago White Sox series, the doubting Thomases can focus on those three ballgames as all the proof needed to dismiss a wild-card reality. But the good guys won the other three series with a 6-2 second-half record against Pittsburgh, Detroit and San Francisco.

Since the All-Star break, the Phils have gone 1-2 each against the Braves and Nats plus 2-2 versus the Dodgers. Is it possible that they’d go 2-2 against those three clubs in any four-game series but lose in an odd-numbered matchup? If so, is there a chance to win one game or a five-game series? Yes!