Keeping Things Interesting

The Phillies swept the Rockies this weekend, which is exactly what they had to do to give themselves a shot at a National League Wild Card.

A wild card remains a long shot, but it is better than no shot at all.

The Cardinals currently hold the second Wild Card. They are on pace for 86 wins. The Phillies would need to finish 17-5 (.772) to finish 86-76. Possible? Sure. But keep in mind the Phillies are 32-20 (.615) since July 13, 24-14 (.632) since the July 31 trade deadline and 12-4 (.750) in their last 16 games. They would need to play even better than they have played recently to reach 86. Yes, every one of the teams ahead of the Phillies in the Wild Card standings could struggle the rest of the way, meaning the Phillies would not need to win 86 games to make the postseason, but the odds are stacked against it.

Here is a look at the remaining schedules for the Wild Card contenders:

  • BRAVES (nine games at home, 12 on the road): home vs. Nationals (3), Marlins (3) and Mets (3); road vs. Brewers (3), Marlins (3), Phillies (3) and Pirates (3). They play six games against teams with winning records, but six against the Brewers and Phillies.
  • CARDINALS (nine games at home, 13 on the road: home vs. Astros (3), Nationals (3) and Reds (3); road vs. Padres (3), Dodgers (4), Cubs (3) and Astros (3). They play 10 games against teams with winning records.
  • DODGERS. (10 games at home, 11 on the road): home vs. Cardinals (4), Rockies (3) and Giants (3); road vs. Diamondbacks (2), Nationals (3), Reds (3) and Padres (3). They play 13 games against teams with winning records.
  • PIRATES (nine games at home, 14 on the road): home vs. Brewers (3), Reds (3) and Braves (3); road vs. Reds (3), Cubs (4), Astros (3) and Mets (3). They play nine games against teams with winning records, but three against the Brewers.
  • BREWERS (12 games at home, 10 on the road): home vs. Braves (3), Mets (3), Astros (3) and Padres (3); road vs. Pirates (3), Nationals (4) and Reds (3). They play 10 games against teams with winning records.
  • PHILLIES (nine games at home, 13 on the road): home vs. Marlins (3), Braves (3) and Nationals (3); road vs. Astros (4), Mets (3), Marlins (3) and Braves (3). They play nine games against teams with winning records.

Only the Pirates finish the season with more games on the road than the Phillies, although only the Braves play fewer games against teams with winning records.

Let’s say it takes 85 wins to win a wild card. The Phillies would need to finish 16-6. That means they would need to take 2 of 3 in every remaining three-game series, plus sweep this weekend’s four-game series against the lowly Astros in Houston. If the Phillies lose just one three-game series (certainly possible considering they play the Nationals twice), then obviously they’d need to sweep another one of those three-game series.

The Phillies have almost no margin for error, plus they need the continued cooperation of the team’s ahead of them in the standings. It’s a long shot, but the games should be meaningful. And meaningful games in September is always better than the alternative.


That should be road vs. Astros (4), Mets (3), Marlins (3) and Nationals (3) for the Phillies.

The Phillies have won 15 of their last 21, the hottest team in the NL. there are three teams in the way of a playoff berth. All three of those teams (Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates) have been moving in the opposite direction lately. The Cardinals have lost 8 of their last 12, the Pirates 7 of their last 9 and the Dodgers have lost 12 of their last 19.
They MUST take advantage of playing the dregs of the NL for the next seven games.

What these bullshit lists do not take account of is the records when the games are actually played. The Phillies should have a winning record when they play Atlanta September 21-23.

I have tickets for a game in the Atlanta series and the Nats game on the 26th, and I believe that they will be meaningful games.

just the fact that you’re writing this article right now (and it’s not just filler) makes me smile. go phils.

there are no better teams to have in front of you than the Pirates and the Braves. Both are prone to choke this time of year, and in fact, both have recently or are currently. I think the Braves have another choking fit in them yet, but given their usual weak schedule (how do they never play tough teams?) I suspect they will scrape by. But, even without making the playoffs, the Phils have righted the ship and given us hope for next year, something I was not sure they were going to do back in May and June. I still think they need one good veteran bat and one solid veteran bullpen arm to have a shot at the WS next year. Nats and Braves are not going anywhere, and odds are the Cards, Dodgers, and Mets will be significantly improved.

BTW – what has gotten into Kyle lately? 5-1 in last 6 with 1.49 ERA?! If he can do this next year and Vanimal comes back to 2011 form, they will once again have the best rotation in baseball.

don’t knock it. Don’t jinx it, don’t think about it. Just enjoy it

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