PHILADELPHIA - The Phillies need to only look to the past for inspiration when it comes to making the playoffs.
Philadelphia (44-46) began Tuesday 7 games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East. The Phillies hosted the Washington Nationals (46-43) Tuesday night, but the game ended too late for this edition of The Press.
The past several years have seen several teams seemingly out of playoff contention in the summer rally to make the postseason. Some have even won the World Series.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said there are more comebacks nowadays because there are more mediocre teams.
"There's a lot of warts on a lot of clubs," Amaro said. "You see collapses and you see teams step up."
The Phillies have first-hand experience with teams that get hot in the second half of the regular season and make what in the heat of summer seemed impossible in July and August.
The 2005 Houston Astros were 14 games under .500 in June and 43-43 on July 9 of that year. Houston reached the World Series, losing to the Chicago White Sox in four games.
The 2007 Colorado Rockies were 44-44 at the All Star break. They rallied to grab the wild-card spot and swept the Phillies in the division series. Colorado then lost to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
The 2011 St. Louis Cardinals were 10 games behind the wild-card leading Atlanta Braves on Aug. 24. St. Louis beat the Phillies in the division series and went on to win the World Series.
And then there's the Phillies history itself.
Since 2005, Philadelphia has played an average of 16 games over .500 after the All Star break. That second-half success has been one of the hallmarks of Charlie Manuel's tenure as manager.
Manuel said teams have to persevere through the low points of a season.
"You can catch teams that are not playing so good," he said. "Things finally break for you. That's why you grind it out and stay after it."
The Phillies began Tuesday playing their most consistent baseball of the season. They went 3-1 in the first four games of this pivotal 10-game homestand that will go a long way toward determining if they are legitimate playoff contenders.
The team is holding organizational meetings this week. Fans and the team itself are debating whether the Phillies should be buyers or sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
History argues for patience. Amaro pointed out that center fielder Ben Revere batted .200 in April but is not hitting .300. Outfielder Delmon Young batted .213 in April and May but is now hitting .274.
"Everybody wants everybody to produce right away but sometimes you have to have some level of patience," Amaro said. "We'll try to be prudent when we made decisions here at the end of the July."
The Phillies continued to fiddle with the bullpen before Tuesday game.
The club sent reliever Phillippe Aumont to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Aumont has a 4.19 ERA in 14 innings this season.
Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee said Aumont needs to pitch on a more regular basis and work out some mechanical issues that have caused his fastball velocity to drop.
The Phillies called up 26-year-old pitcher Louis Garcia, who appeared in 12 games for the Newark Bears of the Can-Am League in 2012.
The Phillies also transferred reliever Mike Adams to the 60-day disabled list. Adams has been out since June with ligament tears in his throwing shoulder.
The Phillies bullpen began Tuesday with a 4.63 ERA - the worst in the National League.
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