The Phillies’ postseason odds have improved with Fernando Tatis Jr. suspended.
The Philadelphia Phillies just got second baseman Jean Segura back from the injured list, and star outfielder Bryce Harper is likewise on the mend from a fractured thumb that has kept him sidelined since late June.
Meanwhile, one of interim manager Rob Thomson’s squad’s biggest competitors for a National League Wild Card spot — the San Diego Padres — just lost a key player for the remainder of the season.
According to multiple reports, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner Fernando Tatis Jr. has been suspended 80 games after testing positive for the Clostebol performance-enhancing drug — a violation of Major League Baseball’s performance-enhancing drug policy.
The Padres already added a trio of high-impact players at the trade deadline in Juan Soto, Josh Bell, and Brandon Drury. Pairing them with Tatis Jr. likely would have put the Padres over the top and on track for a potentially deep postseason run.
Entering Friday’s pivotal three-game series opener against the New York Mets, the Phillies held a half-game lead over the San Diego Padres for the second National League Wild Card spot. Now, Tatis Jr.’s suspension only improves the Phillies’ Wild Card chances.
While the Padres have some relatively easy competition the next few series — playing a combined seven games against the Washington Nationals and three against the Miami Marlins — some of their tougher opponents are still on the horizon. Most notably, the Padres have nine games left against the Major League Baseball-best Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tatis Jr. had been sidelined all of the 2022 season due to undergoing wrist surgery, but was on a Double-A rehab assignment and eyed a mid-August return. Last season, the Dominican Republic native finished third in the National League MVP race behind Harper and Soto, slashing .282/.364/.611 with 42 home runs and 97 RBI across 130 games.
While the Phillies would like to put their fate in their own hands, they surely are the last ones upset about Friday’s shocking Tatis Jr.’s suspension news.