Five things learned from Phillies disappointing series loss to Nationals

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 22: Maikel Franco #7 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park on August 22, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 20: Ronald Acuna Jr. #13 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with teammates after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 at PNC Park on August 20, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Winning the division just got harder

The Phillies were hoping to gain some ground on the Braves with a five-game series against the Mets over the weekend and three-game set with the Nationals. The Braves gifted the Phillies the chance to take the lead after being swept by the Rockies. Instead, Philadelphia lost three games to the Mets, winding up a game behind the Braves heading into the Nationals series.

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After two losses to the Nationals and two wins by the Braves, the Phillies stood three games back in the division. Philadelphia’s win Thursday brought them back to 2.5 games behind Atlanta, pending the result of their game Thursday night. If the Braves win, Philadelphia will still be three games back with 35 games left in the season.

Throughout this rough stretch, we have been reminded that there are seven games between the Phils and Braves at the end of the season. The Phillies need to keep the gap as close as possible or even get ahead so it doesn’t require them running the table in order to win the division.

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The Phillies are fourth in the wild-card race as it stands now, so winning the division is their best bet to make the playoffs. They can’t keep squandering opportunities to get ahead of the Braves and don’t have enough leeway to afford to fall any further behind in the division.

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