Better, how could anything be better right now?
It's Murphy's Law for our favorite dumb duo: everything that could go wrong, does go wrong.
"We got no food, no jobs... our PETS' HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!" Christmas, played by Jim Carrey, says in the memorable scene.
(Someone please alert the good folks at AFI so we can get to that scene on-line, on-demand).
So what exactly does this have to do with baseball, and more specifically, the Phillies? Glad you asked.
If there's an opposite of Murphy's Law (is there?) it appears to be happening for the Phillies this month. Any deficit, no matter how big, no matter how little time there is to make it disappear, isn't a big deal for the Phils.
Sure, it's a characteristic this team has had for the better part of Charlie Manuel's tenure as manager. But, in this month, here in September 2010, today, when the first place Phillies begin a critical, three-game series against the second-place Atlanta Braves, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where this team could be any better than they are right now.
They're 41-15 since the first road trip after the All-Star Break. They're 89 wins are more than every team in baseball save the Yankees (who have 90). Take away the Braves and the Phils have a five-game lead over every other NL team in the race for the league's best record, and thus, home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Oh, and they have Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt set to pitch against the Braves; Atlanta, meanwhile, won't have Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, and now possibly, Jair Jurrjens at their disposal in the series.
The Phillies have won seven straight games, including Sunday's dramatic, come-from-behind victory fueled by a 720-foot home run by Jayson Werth that maintained the team's three-game division lead.
"We hold our own destiny," Werth said Sunday. "Here we are getting into late September again, and we’re right where we want to be, clicking on all cylinders, and we’re going to be a force to reckon with.”
So, once again, how could things be any better?
"Maybe if (Jimmy) Rollins was able to play or something," Manuel said. "There again, (Wilson) Valdez has been super for us. If Jimmy is well, that’s always good."
OK, so Charlie got us. The Phils are without Rollins and it's unknown when he'll return. The manager had to go ahead and become Charlie Downer.
But the truth is the Phils don't exactly need Rollins right now. Valdez has played exemplary defense and has hit .333 in 13 games this month (with a .391 on-base percentage).
Valdez isn't alone in having a productive September. Everyone in the lineup save Placido Polanco (.247 BA, .647 OPS) is clicking at the same time.
Here's the rest of the lineup's numbers this month, heading into tonight's first game of the Braves series:
Carlos Ruiz: .347-2HR-12RBIs in 17 games (.997 on-base-plus-slugging %)
Ryan Howard: .297-6-19 in 18G (1.071 OPS)
Chase Utley: .333-4-17 in 18G (1.027 OPS)
Raul Ibanez: .375-3-11 in 17G (1.046 OPS)
Shane Victorino: .365-2-8 in 18G (.974 OPS)
Jayson Werth: .271-6-13 in 17G (.844 OPS)
Howard, Utley and Ibanez rank in the top 10 in the NL in OPS this month; Ruiz and Victorino are 12 and 14, respectively.
So the Phils are going well and set up for success. The Braves chances at still winning the division?
Hey, they're not one in a million, but they don't look too great, either.
"So you're telling me there's a chance ..... YEAH!"
(Sorry, couldn't resist bringing Lloyd back to have this entry come full circle).