September 11, 2019
After dropping their final two games against Cincinnati last week, and then losing their opener against the Mets, things were starting to look grim for the Phillies, who are running out of time to get on a hot streak and make a run at the second National League wild card spot.
But after taking three of their next four — winning the final two games against New York and splitting the first two games of their current series with the Braves — the Phillies remain in the thick of the wild card race.
Currently, the Gabe Kapler's team is two games back of the Cubs with 19 games to play. They'll also have to leapfrog the Brewers, who were just dealt a rough blow on Tuesday night when outfielder and reigning MVP Christian Yelich suffered a season-ending knee injury. They'll also have to hold off the Diamondbacks and Mets, who are 2.5 and 3 games behind the Cubs, respectively.
The question now, as it has been for the last month, is whether or not the Phillies will be able to make a run and earn a spot in the one-game wild card playoff. Unfortunately, the Phillies can't seem to put together enough wins in a row to really make a difference, and with the way their upcoming schedule looks, they won't be getting any breaks. After finishing off their current four-game series against the Braves, they will host the Red Sox for two games before embarking on a road trip that will feature 11 games in 10 days, including eight games against the Braves and Nationals.
Oh, and the other team they'll be visiting on that road trip from hell? That would be Terry Francona's Cleveland Indians, who are currently 24 games over .500 on the season and are still fighting for the second AL wild card.
At least they finish the season against the lowly Marlins. Oh, that's right, the Phillies are just 7-9 against Miami this year. In other words, the Phillies still have time to make a move and get into the MLB postseason for the first time since 2011, but it ain't going to be easy.
Anyway, here's a look at where the Phillies currently stand in various national power rankings as they head down the stretch...
|WHAT THEY'RE SAYING...|
|14 (+2)||This season certainly felt like the do-or-die season for Maikel Franco. With his option to Triple-A and sub-zero bWAR, it looks like his Phillies career is in jeopardy.|
|14 (--)||The Phillies are just two games out, although it feels like a little more.|
|14 (-1)||Losing that series to the Reds was a death blow. The Phillies schedule the rest of the way is brutal, lined with the Braves, Red Sox, Nationals and Indians.|
|14 (-1)||Corey Dickerson had 28 RBI in his first 30 games with Phillies.|
|14 (-1)||This team is technically still alive, but with six more games against Atlanta, two against the Red Sox, three against the Indians, and five against the Nationals, it's difficult to envision a late-season push. The situation in Philly is not Nola's fault, but he has yielded nine earned runs over his last 10 innings (two starts) and has a 3.70 ERA in 184 2/3 total innings this season. He posted a 2.37 ERA in 212 1/3 innings last year.|
|15 (-1)||Few will blame ace right-hander Aaron Nola if/when the overwhelmed Phillies officially fall out of the wild-card race, but he did not help matters by permitting five runs in the first two innings of last week's start in Cincinnati. The Phillies desperately need Nola because the rest of the rotation is a mess. Nola delivered a 2.52 ERA in both July and August, over 12 starts, and he should face powerful Atlanta and Boston this week. The Phillies cannot afford to lose Nola's outings, but that is exactly what has occurred over his past three starts.|
[NOTE: Some of these rankings may have come out a day or two ago, and may not be taking the most recent game(s) into account.]