The Phillies hope to clinch a postseason spot this weekend amid likely rainfall.
The Philadelphia Phillies keep on losing as of late — but so have their remaining lone competition for a Wild Card spot, the Milwaukee Brewers.
Following their 2-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday at Wrigley Field, interim manager Rob Thomson’s squad sits at an 83-70 record — good for a 1 1/2-game lead over the Brewers. When looking at the loss column, the Phillies have two fewer wins.
Given the Phillies hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Brewers, if they finish the year 6-3, the Brewers would have to go a perfect 8-0 in their remaining home schedule against the St. Louis Cardinals (1), Miami Marlins (4), and Arizona Diamondbacks (3).
After the Phillies’ next two games against the Cubs on Wednesday and Thursday, they will head south to the nation’s capital to play four games in a weekend series against the Major League Baseball-worst Washington Nationals. A day-night doubleheader is slated for Saturday.
Realistically, if the Phillies and Brewers remain neck-and-neck and Thomson’s squad maintains its three-game lead in the loss column, it could potentially clinch a Wild Card berth sometime while at Nationals Park. Hurricane Ian, however, could rain on their parade and delay a celebration 11 seasons in the making.
John Stolnis of The Good Phight was among the first to raise this concern. Twitter users suggested to him that Major League Baseball should consider having the doubleheader on Friday instead of Saturday, or perhaps even having the games played at a neutral site.
As of Wednesday morning, the current weather forecast for Nationals Park has a chance of rain of at least 72 percent, Friday night through Sunday. Not ideal. During Tuesday’s game, Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy shared insight on the current status of the series:
"“By the way, the hurricane — which is about to hit Florida — obviously could cause issues this weekend when the Phillies play the Nationals. Talking to Dave Dombrowski and Rob Thomson, Major League Baseball has not made any [decisions] with the Nationals series coming up … I think what their thought is, that they have to wait — even a day or so — just to see what the path is and what kind of rain there’s going to be coming up the east coast.”"
The three-game Wild Card Series is currently slated to begin Friday, October 7, against their would-be likely opponent — the Cardinals. But after the Nationals series, the Phillies still have a three-game road set against the Houston Astros from October 3-5 to close out the regular season.
Any postponement could throw a significant monkey wrench into scheduling logistics, not to mention a potential Phillies postseason rotation they are trying to set up with Wheeler and Aaron Nola as the one-two punches. The upcoming Braves-Mets weekend series in Atlanta — which will have significant implications on who will be the 2022 National League East champion — will also be likely impacted, among other east coast series.
The Phillies have already made adjustments within the organization due to the hurricane. As The Athletic’s Matt Gelb reports, their post-Triple A-season “Stay Ready camp” — for players who could be called upon for the remainder of the season — will relocate from Clearwater, Florida, to Philadelphia.
Things just may work themselves out, but Major League Baseball being proactive about Hurricane Ian would be in their best interest.