Scorecard Watch: Check out the Phillies’ playoff odds with 19 games to go
It wasn’t a good game week for the Phillies.
As of last Tuesday, the Fightins couldn’t really hit, they couldn’t really pitch, they couldn’t really defend, and they’ve lost five of six games. Starting that stretch in a prime position to compete for a playoff berth with five games over .500, the Phils are now just one game over that marker and wasting baseball’s easiest schedule.
After an understandable fight against the NL Central Brewers, the Phils lost three of four to the mediocre Rockies, and with a hard-to-find start, they had to use not one but two games from the reliever box.
And yet, all is not lost.
Thanks to the futility of the teams the Phillies (72-71) are chasing for a playoff berth, they’re still alive and well, with two lanes to enter the season-ending tournament. Here’s a quick rundown of who they’re chasing and how they can reach them.
This one seems to be a bit more difficult than earning a Wild Card spot (which we’ll document in a minute), but the Phillies have a bit more control here. That’s because they face the Braves three times in late September, and in theory, if they can close their current 4.5-game deficit a bit before those games, they could make a realistic run for the crown of. a division.
By the time the Phillies hope to be a meaningful series against the Braves starting September 28, Philly will host the Cubs three times (0.451 winning percentage), face the New York Mets (0.497), then host the Cubs. Orioles (.322) and Pirates (.364). An optimist would point out that they have to deal with the games they should handle and might have the Braves on hand.
What are their chances? FanGraph analyzes the Phillies have an 8.3% chance of winning East NL while five thirty-eight is slightly higher on Philly, giving them a 10% chance. Their NL East odds are +700 via Pointsbet, well behind Atlanta’s -700.
The second Wild Card
The Phillies are much closer in the Wild Cards run – back from just 2.5 games – but they have no head-to-head clashes with the Reds (2.5 ahead), Cardinals (2 ahead) or the Padres (also 2 ahead) going down the stretch. Catching three teams will most likely prove to be a more difficult task – but they are helped by their easy schedule, unlike the much harder slates ahead for the aforementioned trio of teams.
Phillies fans will face four teams in the home stretch while hoping their own team get back on track after a well-deserved day off Monday. Several key players, like JT Realmuto, have been hit in recent times, so maybe the momentum may change as the Cubs come to town for a series of evening games in South Philly.
Fivethirtyeight is slightly more confident in the Phillies’ ability to win the Wild Card slot (8%) than FanGraphs (7%), but the Phillies will need to muster a winning streak here very soon to increase those chances. They’ve shown they can do it – with six- and eight-game winning streaks over the past month and a half. One of those might be all the Phillies need to end their 10-year long playoff drought.
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