TORONTO, ON - JULY 12: Manager Rob Thomson of the Philadelphia Phillies speaks to the media prior to a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on July 12, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

By Bob Cooney

The Phillies start the “second half” of their season tomorrow and find themselves a half game up for the final Wild Card spot in the National League. I’ve said repeatedly on the air that I’m a believer this team will make the post season for the first time in over a decade, and during the All-Star break my confidence has even grown.

Think of what the second half will entail: A schedule that is considered to be one of Baseball returns for the Phillies tomorrow and they find themselves a half the easiest in baseball; the return of the team’s two best hitters in Bryce Harper and Jean Segura; and a manager whom the players seem to love playing for in Rob Thomson.

Speaking of Thomson, here’s more reason for you to have confidence that playoff baseball will be in the Phillies near future. Since taking over for Joe Girardi, Thomson has compiled a 27-14 record. That is a winning percentage of .659. The Phillies currently stand at 49-43. In order to get to 90 wins, the team would have to go 41-29 the rest of the season, which is a winning percentage of just .586.

Another reason for my confidence is how they have gotten to their current record. What Kyle Schwarber has done with hitting 29 home runs has been terrific to watch. But he is still batting only .208. So it’s not like he’s been carrying the team offensively. After his home run total, is anyone doing anything on this team that they can’t emulate – or even improve on – in the second half of the season? Think about it.

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I think Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola are having really good years and will continue to do so. The bullpen, under Thomson, is being used properly and are performing well. I think that will continue. I also think Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto will swing better bats in the second half and Dave Dombrowski will find an everyday centerfielder. Add in the returns of Harper and Segura and there’s your positivity. 90 wins. Book it.