Thursday, July 1, 2010

Philadelphia Phillies' 10 Item Checklist to Overtake the Braves and Mets- Part 1

New York Mets Luis Castillo leaps over Philadelphia Phillies Shane Victorino and throws to first base to complete a double play in the third inning at Citi Field in New York City on May 27, 2010. UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

Part 1 of 12

The Philadelphia Phillies set out on the 2010 season with lofty goals. The first objective was to secure a fourth consecutive NL Eastern Division crown that would serve as their entry pass to Major League Baseball's postseason tournament. 

Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have finished interleague play and turned their attention back to the National League, they find themselves behind both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets in the NL East. They currently sit 2 1/2 games off the pace being set by a Braves club that turned a disappointing April into a promising season and a game behind the Mets. 

After a strong start and enviable lead in May, the Phillies fell upon hard times while their two rivals caught fire. The result has been a slide from a comfortable lead to a middle of the pack chase position. 

Although this is not where they hoped to be as June heads to a close, the Phillies surely are within striking distance. 

Since it appears that the Braves and Mets are legitimate and not likely to fade, securing another division title will most likely require the Phillies to improve in several areas to surpass them. 

In other words, nobody is going to hand them the division— they will need to take it. 

In order to make that happen, most— and possibly all— of the following 10 things need to happen over the balance of the year:  

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