They are still in it! They still have as shot!
This recent mantra of most Phillies fans can’t be ignored, no matter how you argue the point due to one damnable fact: The Phillies have not been mathematically eliminated.
In a game of innumerable statistics there remains one that all players and teams are slaves to, games remaining. As long as the requisite number of wins necessary to catch the wild card leader does not exceed the amount of games remaining the Phillies still have a chance (in hell) to pull off an incredible come back.
But shouldn’t logic take precedent over mathematics here? The Phillies are 4 games back of the Cardinals with 14 games to play, which is no easy mountain to climb. Making matters worse are the other three teams sandwiched between the Phils and Cards. Not only do they need to overtake St. Louis, but LA, Pittsburgh, AND Milwaukee all have to stumble for the Phils to have their way. We’ve all seen teams collapse late in the season (see Boston and Atlanta last year), but four teams all at once!?! I don’t think so.
Fans still holding onto the mathematical life preserver have sited recent Phillies history, particularly that of 2007. We can all remember the seven game lead the Phillies erased against the Mets in the final month that year, when everyone had left them for dead. But, that team had only the Mets to catch, and they were helped a great deal by New York’s equally epic collapse.
To judge the likelihood (or lack there of) of another epic comeback here’s what needs to happen.
1) The Phillies record 4 more wins that the Cardinals in their final 14 games.
2) The Dodgers need to lose 3 more games than the Phillies
3) Milwaukee must lose 2 more games than the Phillies.
4) Pittsburgh must lose 1 more game than the Phils. *This scenario would create a whacky 5-team wild card playoff that I’m positive Bud Selig has no contingency plan for.
To make matters even more difficult the Phils, they don’t face any of the aforementioned teams they are chasing, resigning them to scoreboard watching every night.
If things look bleak it’s because they are, plain and simple. It’s admirable that this team didn’t simply roll over and die a month ago, but this recent playoff push is no better than a soda machine in the middle of the desert. But until that games-remaining-clock strikes midnight fans won’t be able to let go of the last dying hope.