Out of it: The Phillies' competition is stiff and they have ceded too much ground early
The Phillies may have all of the potential in the world, but the reality is that they have already ceded a lot of ground to their competition. The Braves are one of the more talented teams in all of baseball and they have been playing like it most of the season. The Marlins certainly don't look at good as Philadelphia on paper, but they win a lot of close games and are clearly on the come up. The one saving grace is that the Mets, after spending all of that money, have been a colossal disappointment so far.
Even if you shift your gaze to the wild card race, the Phillies have problems with how they are positioned. Sure, they are only three games out of a wild card spot, but they are currently competing with a very hot Giants team, the Dodgers who have as much if not more talent than the Phillies on their roster, and the aforementioned Marlins. You also have the Brewers who always seem to find a way to stick around lurking as well.
These teams are legitimately good and while the Phillies may look favored on paper over some of them, the inability to put some distance or even keep pace with them is a head start Philadelphia couldn't afford to give.
Still in it: Last season taught us that the Phillies just need to squeak in because they are built for the postseason
There is one thing that is absolutely true of the Phillies and that is they are built for the postseason. In a short series, the top of the rotation matches up with any team in the league and they have the raw talent and experience on their roster to beat anyone.
So would it be nice to be able to win the division to get some more favorable early round matchups in the postseason? Absolutely. However, it isn't necessarily critical, either. If this Phillies team is close to a wild card spot at the end of the season, they have all the tools they need to close out strong and snag a playoff spot.
After that, well, you saw what they can do last postseason.