Phillies fans' biggest fears come true after losing weekend against the Braves

After dropping two of three games on opening weekend, it doesn't look like the Phillies are ready to compete with the Braves yet.
The Philadelphia Phillies lost two of three games to the Atlanta Braves on opening weekend
The Philadelphia Phillies lost two of three games to the Atlanta Braves on opening weekend / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but the Philadelphia Phillies managed to put one in the win column in their opening weekend series against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. While fans can breathe a slight sigh of relief that the Phillies didn’t get swept at the hands of their division rival, at home no less, the result isn’t what many envisioned before the season began.

Some believe the Phillies have a legitimate shot at the NL East title this season, some don’t. That's fine, we're all entitled to our opinions.

More importantly, the team believes it. Or at least that’s what they said all winter and into the spring.

"There's no reason we shouldn't be able to compete with them and beat them for the division," catcher J.T. Realmuto told the SportsRadio 94 WIP Midday Show late in spring training. "We just have to first of all get off to a better start and then just be more consistent throughout the season."

"You can see it when we get in the postseason, we have all the talent in the world, we have the team that can win every single game of the regular season," Realmuto added. "You're obviously never going to do that, but we just have to change our mindset in the regular season and be a little more consistent over the 162, and be that team that we are in the postseason for the whole year."

They certainly didn't play consistently over the first three games of the season. But it's still early days, as we'll hear for the next month, at minimum.

Phillie didn't prove they are on the same level as the Braves over the weekend

Whether they win the division or not, fans want to see the front office’s assessment of the current roster validated by on-field success, specifically against the Braves. Otherwise, the quiet offseason, guided by the internal belief in this group, might go down as a wasted opportunity to narrow the gap between themselves and the reigning NL East champions.

Unfortunately, the unbridled optimism of the preseason quickly gave way to early despair on Friday after Zack Wheeler left the home opener with a 2-0 lead, and things went off the tracks.

It’s only three games into a six-month marathon, but Phillies fans have already had their fears confirmed that perhaps their beloved team still can’t compete with the Braves, at least in the regular season. Even if we haven't expressed it, it's still there for some fans — an underlying wariness about the ability of this team to compete with Atlanta, lurking just beneath the surface, but there nonetheless.

While the Phillies faithful can hang their hats on the team's undeniable success against Atlanta in the past two postseasons, it would be nice to go up against the Braves as a true equal, not the underdog.

While the Phillies did win 5-4 on Sunday, it was by the skin of their teeth and required a bit of luck.

“That’s baseball, right? You think the inning’s over, you let your guard down a little bit and you get some luck," Bohm said after the game, per NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Corey Seidman. "Sometimes that’s all you need.”

Not to mention it came on the heels of being outscored 21-7 and outhit 32-13 over the preceding 18 innings. Heading into Easter Sunday, the underlying tone of fans seemed to be apprehension of impending doom at the prospect of being swept. Pretty heavy stuff for Game 3 of the season.

Luckily it didn’t turn out that way.

"You never want to get swept. We came in today, third game of the season, we really wanted this one,” Bohm said. “Get some luck like that, kind of get the momentum back and now we've got our guys going in the bullpen with a lead and smell a win.”

The Phillies now have until a three-game series that starts July 5, the next meeting with the Braves, to get themselves in a position to show they can indeed compete with the juggernaut of the NL East on Atlanta’s level. Otherwise, Phillies fans may have to resign themselves to the fact that this current roster still can't keep up with the high-powered Braves.