After last season, it surprises me sometimes how much opportunity I see for the team to crawl back into the playoff discussion. In these cases, fantasists such as myself, should normally be institutionalized as a danger to a pessimistic society, but I know I'm not the only one who's had this thought.
Two things that Saunders doesn't mention: One big advantage we have over last season is a far easier schedule. No Philladelphia trip and the NL West isn't best. One big disadvantage that he points out but doesn't give the emphasis it deserves, is that there's a huge difference between a team that's gone 59-69 over its first 128 games and one that's gone 65-63. We were coming back from a position of strength then, this season, we'd be coming back from one of considerable weakness, and that would make it that much more difficult, albeit admittedly all the more sweeter were it to happen.
More good news is we were 19 games under .500 on June 30 and have cut that deficit almost in half. More bad news, however, is that we were 10 games behind the D-backs then, 8 games behind them two days later on July 2, and 8 games behind them now nearly a month and a half on.
Five in a row makes me a little happy. I would have been much happier had we won against the team it mattered more for last week. If we get back to within five games by the beginning of September, then maybe I'll allow myself to get really excited. In the meantime, I think this game today is more important for the intriguing recent work done by George of the Rose.
He seems to have hit on something that makes the cost/benefit analysis of keeping him into 2009 more complicated than it was a month ago, if you allow me the indulgence of slipping into middle-management speak. While the proposal on the table is interesting, I want to see him make it work against a lineup that has some teeth to it today.