Brandon Marsh has his eyes on the prize. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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I’ll admit it. Perhaps I’ve been getting a bit worked up about the Phillies.

Perhaps I’m spending too much time matching the energy I find on Twitter. Perhaps my expectations were too high coming off a World Series performance and perhaps I’m demanding too much from a team that is dealing with some injuries and has played about three weeks of a six month season.

Heading into this week’s series against the Mariners, the Phillies had won two straight series and took care of business against the Rockies in front of three sellout crowds over the weekend. Coupled with four straight losses from the Braves, the Phils gained three games in three days in the standings, a reminder to me and every other addled Phils brain that no season is over in April.

There was a time burying yourselves by seven games before the season’s first month ended was a death knell, but that was in the ancient 1990s, when 4 to 6 teams made the playoffs and winning the division was everything. Nowadays, there are three division title winners and three wild card teams in each league, and as we’ve seen in recent years, you can still be in the playoff picture by being just a bit over .500 as September rolls around.

That’s where the Phils find themselves right now. The league has revamped its schedule to make it more balanced, meaning the pursuit of the wild card is every bit as legitimate as a division title, although earning one of the two first-round byes should still always be the goal.

But if you live and die with the team, It hasn’t been easy.

You undoubtedly died inside when Aaron Nola blew a 5-0 Opening Day lead over Jacob deGrom and when the team got swept in Texas. You didn’t enjoy the village of runners left on base as the team scuffled to hit for power. You bristled when Nola’s implosion innings didn’t stop, when the bullpen’s early results were less than encouraging and the team was losing games to the Reds and Marlins.

It’s difficult to watch a good team struggle, and when you had visions of a 95-win team dancing in your head during spring training, it’s difficult to watch them play like a 75-win squad.

On this week’s episode of Hittin’ Season, Justin Klugh, Liz Roscher and I discussed the mania that comes with watching this up-and-down baseball team and the wisdom of living and dying with each game. Also…

  • What we each liked best about the weekend’s series victory over Colorado
  • Surprise at the Phils’ early attendance figures at Citizens Bank Park
  • A look back at the last time the Mariners came to Philadelphia (2016, with Michael Saunders, cleanup hitter!)
  • And a look around the league at the surprise teams, including the confounding Pittsburgh Pirates

Listen above or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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John Stolnis, Hittin' Season

John Stolnis grew up in Delco as a rabid fan of all Philadelphia sports, but the Phillies have always held a special place in his heart, particularly those disappointing Juan Samuel-led teams of the late...