The Phillies’ playoff odds have crashed in the last month, falling all the way into the single-digits after being swept in Tuesday’s doubleheader.
On its own, Tuesday night’s loss to the Nationals was gut-wrenching. The Phillies rallied back from a three-run deficit with a five-run fifth inning, taking a 6-3 lead with a Jose Bautista home run in the bottom of the eighth. Seranthony Dominguez then gave up three runs in the top of the ninth, allowing the Nationals to tie up the game. Juan Soto hit his 18th home run of the year in the top of the tenth to secure a 7-6 win for Washington.
The loss stung even more after losing the previous game of the doubleheader. Philadelphia managed only one run in the loss, recording just five hits. After the doubleheader, the club’s record dropped to 74-70, with Washington rising to 73-72. If Washington completes the series sweep Wednesday night, they will be just half a game behind Philadelphia for second place in the division.
Philadelphia is now 6.5 games behind the Braves for first place in the NL East. It is the farthest behind they ever have been in the division with just 18 games left in the season. Barring a Mets-style collapse from the Braves, the Phils have little hope of winning the division. Even if that did happen, there’s no guarantee they rally back. Their odds of ending up in third place are significantly better than their odds of finishing first.
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The wild-card is well out of reach at this point. They are also 6.5 games behind the second wild-card spot with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks both ahead of them. Philadelphia’s only path to the playoffs is with a division title, and all hope for that seems lost.
Considering how far back the team is in the standings, their playoff projections are grim, to say the least. According to Fangraphs, Philadelphia has just a 5.9% chance of making the playoffs. Baseball Prospectus gives them even lower odds at 2.4%. When August started, Philadelphia had playoffs odds of 65.3% according to BP. In just the last week, their odds fell 17.7%.
Going simply beyond projection systems, this team is dead in the water. Their offense has sputtered for the last month and a half. Their record is 11-22 since their last series win. Last night’s loss was the nail in the coffin for their playoff chances. After such a strong first four months of the season, the last two have been abysmal.
While Philadelphia is still technically alive in the playoff race, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who still believes they will make it after watching the team these last few weeks. It’s a shame considering how well the season started, but there was a reason they weren’t expected to make the postseason when the year began.