The Phillies’ Wild Card cushion over the Padres and Brewers has shrunk.
With the Philadelphia Phillies losing three consecutive games — and the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers winning two straight each heading into Sunday — the Wild Card standings have gotten a lot tighter for interim manager Rob Thomson’s squad.
The Phillies enter their road series finale against the Braves on Sunday with a half-game advantage over the Padres, and a two-game lead over the Brewers. Taking into account tiebreaker implications, the Phillies actually hold two- and three-game leads in the loss column over the respective teams.
Here are a few reasons to feel optimistic about the Phillies’ postseason chances:
- The Phillies still have four games remaining against Major League Baseball’s worst team in the Washington Nationals — a club they are 13-2 against this season.
- The Padres still have some tough opponents ahead — three home games each against the St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and San Francisco Giants. The club also has a three-game road set against the Colorado Rockies, who always can put up a competitive series. The Padres’ remaining opponents have a .537 average winning percentage, as opposed to the Phillies’ .523.
- With a 7.5-game advantage over the New York Yankees for the best record in the American League entering Sunday, the Houston Astros will likely be resting players in their final series of the season against the Phils.
Meanwhile, here are some reasons to feel pessimistic about the chances the Phillies will snap their 11-season postseason drought in 2022:
- Just six of the team’s remaining 17 games will take place at home. The club will finish the season on a 10-game road trip against the Chicago Cubs (September 27-29), Washington Nationals (September 30 – October 2), and Astros (October 3-5).
- The Phillies have the most games remaining — compared to the Padres and Brewers — opposite teams with a .500 or better record.
- There are key players currently sidelined due to injury — notably Rhys Hoskins, Nick Castellanos, Zack Wheeler, and Edmundo Sosa. While most appear to be on the mend, the club needs them back sooner than later to avoid a must-win scenario in the final series of the season.
The Phils being on a three-game skid is anything but ideal, but there is still some hope for the club, with three weeks remaining until a hopeful Red October return.