After MLB trade deadline deals, Phillies might have one of the most dangerous lineups for the stretch run –

It’s August, and just like we’re now positive the New York Mets‘ 11-1 start was the biggest sham of the 2018 MLB season, we’re also well past the point of pretending the Philadelphia Phillies are anything but playoff material.

The days of fans prematurely condemning first-year manager Gabe Kapler are long gone. Rotation ace Aaron Nola is still squarely in the mix for NL Cy Young honors. And barring a 76ers-level tank job, the Phils are going to eclipse their 2017 win total (66) in the next few weeks — which means they’re a full two months ahead of their predecessors. This is a first-place team that, judging by the way the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals have performed of late, needs just a reasonably competent finish to ensure its first postseason berth since 2011.

“Reasonably competent” isn’t what the team is shooting for now that it’s blossoming a year ahead of schedule, though, and that’s what brings us to this week’s trade deadline. The Phillies were already surprisingly steady thanks to Nola, Odubel Herrera’s blazing spring, the long-ball flash of Rhys Hoskins and even some incredibly timely slumps between their own batters. But they didn’t sit pat in the days leading up to July 31, first landing Asdrubal Cabrera from those rival Mets and then adding Wilson Ramos from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Unlike Cabrera’s old team, which decided that building around a bunch of 2011 All-Stars was a good plan in 2018, the Phillies aren’t just adding names to their roster, either. Without sacrificing the farm or their payroll for what could even be an even bigger splurge come wintertime, they assembled a lineup that figures to look something like this for the stretch run:

2B Cesar Hernandez: 8 home runs, 35 RBI LF Rhys Hoskins: 21 home runs, 70

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