Here’s the thing about having a cut-off point rather than chasing one: you don’t have to always keep an eye on out-of-town results.
But it seems that old habits do not die easily. So, the best thing that happened to Phyllis Tuesday evening came about 20 minutes before the merciful final of their fifth straight loss when a box flashed on the electronic scoreboard in right field at Citizens Bank Park.
All together now: “Whew.”
“We’re still in the driver’s seat,” starter Kyle Gibson said after the Milwaukee Brewers blasted a late home lead against the New York Mets to reduce the impact of allowing him seven runs on 12 injuries in five rounds against the Toronto Blue Jays. “It depends on how you do it we an act. It doesn’t depend on how anyone else works.”
it’s the truth. Not that you know it from the way Phillies plays. They were 18-19 in the last 37 games entered on Wednesday night, so they owed a lot of their lead in two games (three including a tiebreak) for the last wild card in the National League to the Brewers’ record 19-20 over the same period .
That sound you hear is the whistling sound of the Phillies in qualifying. But the math doesn’t lie, and believe it or not, the magic number to snatch the first playoff since 2011 dropped to 12 entry points Wednesday night. In that spirit, here are 12 ideas for the struggling Phillies:
1. Interim manager Rob Thompson is retracting the Phillies can’t beat-good teams’ narrative, citing their winning season streak against the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. The facts remain: Against the winning teams, they’ve been 5-11 since the All-Star break, 16-17 under Thompson, and 29-34 overall, with eight of the last 15 games coming up against clubs linked to the playoffs.
2. Nobody’s asking the Phillies to apologize for defeating the four weakest teams in the NL, but it’s hard to ignore that they’re 37-11 against Washington, Miami, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati and 43-56 against everyone else.
3. In the past, Velez would have had to play match 163 if they ended up with a draw in the final. Not anymore. MLB got rid of the extra game to speed up the post-season. The links are now broken due to a set of conditions, starting with the recording of head-to-head encounters. The Phillies own the tiebreaker over Milwaukee and San Diego Padres. “We finished games against them in…early June,” Brewers manager Craig Konsell told ESPN.com. “We were aware of that at the time, but there were still 110 matches left at the time. There is not much to do.”
4. Zach Wheeler’s return to the heap Wednesday night after missing a month raises this question: What is it reasonable to expect from him? Wheeler earned an 8.53 ERA from his first three starts after not starting with spring training. “I don’t know, but I think it would be better than that,” Thompson said. “He got off to a little slow start just because it was a short spring training for him. But he’s had a great deal of work, and now that’s the time of the year when the adrenaline is really pumping.”
5. Looking for a blueprint for what Wheeler is trying to do? Try this: In 2019, Blake Snell is back on September 17th after missing nearly two months to arthroscopic elbow surgery. He made three starts down the Tampa Bay stretch, topped 62 stadiums, and Game 2 of the Division Series.
6. In 2019, JT Realmuto ranked 14th in the NL MVP poll. He should be in the top ten this season. After going 5 for 5 with Homer on Tuesday night, he’s been up to .321/.386/.624 since June 25. Factor in his dominance on the bases, on both sides of the ball, and his Fangraves wins above substitution is 6.1, seventh in the NL and most by Musk since Buster Posey in 2016 (6.6).
7. One Player Who Won’t Cry Over Banning Shield Spells: Kyle Schwarber. He’s experienced transformation in 90.3% of his panel appearances, according to Statcast. Toronto played a heavy bout on Tuesday night. In the third inning, Schwarber hit a 308-foot drive into right field that was caught by second baseman Cavan Biggio.
8. In a related story, Schwarber will be the third player ever to reach 40 home points while hitting 0.215 or less, joining Joey Gallo (2018-19) and Adam Dunn (2012).
9. Bryce Harper saw seven straight changes or curve balls before swinging on a change last Wednesday night in Miami. He said, “I’ll probably throw it out quickly, too, because I’m completely out of it and behind the heater.” Here’s the weird part: It’s the fast balls that get Harper in trouble. Since returning from a two-month absence with a broken left thumb, he’s been hitting .212 and hitting .364 against heaters compared to .304 and .565 against changes. It was the opposite before the injury. Harper was destroying fastballs (.333/.658) and struggling against changes (.185/.370).
10. After a strong August hitting 0.300/.333/.500 with five homers in 26 games, Nick Castellanos has only had two rackets since August 28 due to grass toe and a tense oblique muscle in his right side. The latter caused him to miss his 16th game in a row on Wednesday night. He was swinging off the tee and running bases, and Thompson said a “best case scenario” would be Triple A mission over the weekend. In this case, Castellanos can return for all or most of the last ten matches.
11. Leaks have surfaced on Pulp Phillies in recent weeks, but Hard prospect throwing Griff McGarry It is only a “contingency policy,” according to Thompson. The Phillies took McGarry to the mall a few weeks ago to determine his eligibility as a savior in September. In four appearances at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he allowed four six-stroke runs, including a home run, and five walks in six innings on four appearances.
12. Schwarber, a veteran of six seasons in seven years, often addresses the team after games. he had A clear message on Tuesday night: “Stay in the fight.” Said Gibson: “We have a very seasoned team here in these situations. We still have a lot of confidence.”