There is something very familiar about this, isn't there?
The Phillies had just 16 games to play last year when they opened a three-game series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. The Phillies swept the series to start the Mets on their free fall into oblivion, while the Phillies became the first team in baseball history to overcome a 7 1/2 game deficit with 17 games to play.
The Phillies had just 16 games to play this season when they opened a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park. They swept the Brewers in a doubleheader yesterday - 7-3 in Game 1 and 6-1 in Game 2 - to sweep the series and pull into a first-place tie with Milwaukee in the National League wild-card race.
The Phillies also pulled within a game of the Mets in the NL East.
'08 Brewers, meet the '07 Mets.
'08 Mets, there still is time to join the party.
Could this really happen again?
"It kind of felt like it did last year," pitcher Brett Myers said. "We just went out there and had some fun. The offense came out swinging. The starting pitching was good. That's what wins championships. Hopefully, we can keep it up."
"I believe in momentum," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I believe in attitude, charisma, whatever you want to call it when you come to the ballpark. Everything is upbeat. Everybody is happy. . . . Believe me, all those things count."
The Phillies opened the series Thursday with Jamie Moyer pitching on short rest. He pitched well in a 6-3 victory. They closed the series last night with Myers pitching on short rest in Game 2.
Myers remains one of the hottest pitchers on the planet, well-rested or not. He is 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA in 11 starts since his return from the minor leagues. He retired 18 of the first 20 batters he faced before he lost his shutout in the seventh inning when Prince Fielder hit a meaningless solo home run to right field.
Myers (10-11) allowed two hits, one run and one walk in nine innings. He struck out four.
Meanwhile, Brewers righthander Jeff Suppan fell in line with his teammates and came up small.
Pat Burrell stood at third with two outs in the second inning when Suppan intentionally walked Chris Coste to face Myers.
Myers stroked a single to right field to score Burrell, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Jimmy Rollins followed with a single to score Coste and Myers, making it 4-0. The Phillies scored two more runs off Suppan in the fifth - one on Burrell's solo homer to left - to make it 6-0.
Joe Blanton allowed five hits and three runs in seven innings in Game 1. Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and Shane Victorino hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
The Phillies looked like a team ready to roll into October once more. Brewers manager Ned Yost looked like a man in need of former Mets manager Willie Randolph's therapist.
It seems very familiar.