The Philadelphia Phillies, despite losing an important series to the New York Mets, are still keeping their heads above water in the race for the NL East playoff spot. With both the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves also losing their series, the Phillies didn’t gain any ground but they certainly didn’t lose any. In fact, they are right where they were when the All-Star break started, 6.5 games out of first place. Except now they are in second place instead of third.
But where the Phillies remained stagnant in their division, the team unsurprisingly lost ground in the chase for a wildcard spot. Led by two NL Central powerhouses, Philadelphia lost a game on the wildcard leading Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds. Just like in the division, the Phillies are now 6.5 back in the wildcard as well.
But unlike the NL East where the Phillies still have 13 games against the Braves and a legitimate chance to catch them, the idea of the team somehow managing to get into the playoffs via the wildcard seems kind of crazy. By far, the Central has been the best and most solid division in the NL this year and there is no reason to believe one or both of the top two wildcard holding teams are going to suddenly slip.
Most importantly though, the Phillies have zero games remaining against both the Reds and Pirates. So catching the teams is made even harder.
Obviously the preference for fans would be for the Phillies to win the division and avoid the idea of a play-in game, but on paper, the division is looking like the only way Philadelphia is going to be making the playoffs, period.