SAN FRANCISCO -- It's Aug. 7 and that's why the players and coaches in the visiting clubhouse at AT&T Park will pay little attention to a 9.5-game lead in the National League East because of the phrase "7 with 17 to play." But that number is mind-blowing, considering the other five division leads in baseball combine for 8.5 games.
And the Phillies have not had a lead this large in 18 years.
The last 9.5-game lead was Sept. 5, 1993, a mere 6,545 days ago. Curt Schilling won that day, Larry Andersen struck out both batters he faced, and Mitch Williams notched his 37th save.
So, yeah, it's been a while.
The Phillies are on pace for 106 wins, which would shatter the franchise record of 101. Even if the Phillies were to play one game under .500 in the final 49 games, they would finish with 98 wins -- or one more than last season.
Not only do they have a 9.5-game lead over Atlanta, but also a 13-game lead in a postseason spot. Cool Standings estimates the Phillies have a 99.9 percent chance of making the playoffs.
Just some numbers to chew on during a Sunday in August, when far from anything is decided. But this certainly is shaping up as a special regular season.
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