We are back with the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag.  The Phillies have won eight games in a row and remain in first place in the National League East.  This week's mailbag is looking towards the now and not the future for the first time in a while.  Send me your questions at any time to @FrankKlose.

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Do you think they are peaking too early? Will they have enough gas left to finish the job?
~Gary

I get where Gary is coming from here.  If you remember back to 2007, the Phillies were eliminated from the playoffs by the Colorado Rockies. That Rockies team won 14 out of 15 to surge into the playoffs.  The Rockies then swept the Phillies in the Division series before sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS.

So, being the hot team matters.

The Phillies are surging, fueled perhaps by the trade deadline acquisitions and their pricy offensive pieces Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto being healthy.  The remaining schedule suggests that the Phillies are in a good position to compete going forward.  Of the 50 remaining games, there are 30 so that at least on a team-by-team basis the Phillies should beat.

Of course, the games need to be played.  Despite the oddsmakers around baseball - such as Baseball Reference giving the Phillies playoff odds of 61.5% the Phillies will still need to keep the offense hot and get their key players healthy.  The Phillies will be much better with Andrew McCutchen and Zach Eflin than without them.

Certainly with Zack Wheeler on the mound, the Phillies can compete with anybody.  And while he will not pitch in this Los Angeles Dodgers series, Wheeler will see plenty of action throughout the remainder of the season against some of the good teams.

What is different now that could be why the Phillies do not let up is that they are almost neck and neck with the Braves and there is a new sense of urgency I have not seen with this team before.

50 games and almost two months is a long time, but I think the Phillies can keep this up - not winning eight in a row all the time - but enough to win.

What’s your prediction on their wins/losses for the remaining games?
~Marco

I'm going to say 86-76 by season's end.  The Phillies are currently five games above the .500 mark; I think they can get to the 10-game mark.

When are the expected returns of Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod and Seranthony Dominguez?
~Phil

The Phillies would certainly benefit from having even one of these three arms in their b\ullpen.  After Maurcio Llovera appeared a little in over his head on Saturday, it is clear there is still some room in the Phillies bullpen for improvement.  It may come from one of four players currently on the injured list.

Seranthony Dominguez - Dominguez has made two official rehab appearances thus far with Class-A Jersey Shore.  He allowed one hit an done walk in two innings.  Then on Sunday he threw one inning, striking out two.  It's not an official third appearance because the game was suspended due to weather. But he looked good.

Judging by a BlueClaws tweet on Sunday, it appears Dominguez is headed somewhere else, perhaps to Double-A Reading or Triple-A Lehigh Valley.   I am sure the Phillies will give him at least a few more rehab appearances before activating him, just to be sure.  Adding Dominguez would mean finding room on the 40-man roster for him.

Sam Coonrod - Coonrod suffered a setback while pitching for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. His rehab appearance was shut down on July 21.  Testing out a new slider led to Coonrod joining the injured list.

Connor Brogdon - When Enyel De Los Santos entered a tight game in the middle innings, one figured something was up with Brogdon. Brogdon was placed on the injured list on August 3 with elbow tendinitis.  It has not been 10 days since.

The good news: Brogdon has been throwing.  Destiny Lugardo of Phillies Nation noted that he was out throwing on Saturday before the game.  The Phillies probably would send him on a rehab outing or two before bringing him back. I would imagine that would make him out another week, minimum.

Bailey Falter - I'll add Falter to your list.  Falter experienced a rough bout of COVID-19.  He reportedly lost eight pounds during the illness and needed time to get his stamina back.  Falter has been throwing bullpen sessions and presumably, would be headed for a rehab assignment soon.

So that makes four arms who could potentially help the Phillies bullpen.  Aside from Coonrod, the other three sound like they could help the Phillies sooner than later.

Who gets sent down when Freddy Galvis returns?
~@WiffleBall1

This question is a hard one to answer.  I would bet that Galvis is close to a rehab assignment at Triple-A Lehigh Valley or Double-A Reading.  When he returns, I would see just who is healthy and who is not.

At one point in this season, there would have been no place for Luke Williams or maybe even Ronald Torreyes. But we have seen so many injuries that could make the Phillies use Williams as an outfielder or infielder. Hopefully no Phillies player is injured between now and season's end.

If Galvis is ready in the next couple weeks, I guess it would be temporarily Luke Williams that is optioned.  It's not necessarily that he deserves it, but he could get some at bats at Triple-A for a bit.

And rosters will expand on September 1  not to the number 40 like they used to, but to 28.  That's room for a couple extra players, including one pitcher and one position player, most likely.  It will be interesting to see if the Phillies have the space for a third catcher in Rafael Marchan or if he will have to be on a taxi squad in case of injury.

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