Sunday afternoon the Phillies dropped another game to the sorry Marlins and are now 1.5 games out of the wildcard. They currently are looking up to the Cubs for the second WC spot and waaaaaaaaaaay up at the Nationals who have 4 games up on Philadelphia. So with a 67-62 record, 33 left to play, what do the Phillies need to do to realistically make the playoffs this year?
After today’s loss FiveThirtyEight give the Phillies a 16% chance of playing October baseball. With the way they’ve been performing recently, I think that is about 14% too generous. If Philadelphia wants to see the post season this year they’ll need to really turn it on, and fast. Currently FTE is projecting the Cubs to finish the year with 86 wins and the Mets with 84. So for this let’s just toss the Mets aside and focus on those Cubbies.
If Chicago does close out the season with an 86-76 that would mean that Philadelphia would have to at least match that mark. If both teams finish with the same record there would be a tiebreaker played in Philadelphia given that the Phillies have the better head-to-head record (5-2). For that to be possible Philadelphia needs to go 19-14 in the final 33 or a winning percentage of .576. A record of 19-14 doesn’t sound too hard until you take a closer at what they’re really up against.
Phillies currently have a win % of .519, so we’re asking them to jump .057 with Harper still out and a bullpen that is less reliable than a diarrhea fart. To make matters worse, 18 of the remaining 33 games are on the road. The Phillies away from Citizens Bank Park this year are 29-34 (.460). So let’s say they keep up that winning pace of .460, that means they would go 8-10 on the road. That is going to put a ton of pressure on them to succeed at home. If they go 8-10 on the road they would need to finish the season at home with a very impressive 11-4 (.733) record.
Can it be done? Yeah of course, we’ve seen crazier things I.E. the 07 Mets. They’ll need the offense to carry them though. This bullpen can’t be trusted leaving them with only the option to out slug teams. They will also need to sweep a pair of home series and also win the rest of them. With the next six at home starting with Pittsburgh tonight, now is the time. The second half of that six in a row at home is with the Mets, giving Philadelphia an opportunity to basically knock them out of the playoffs with a sweep. The final 33 should be just like the rest of the season. Exciting, tense and head stretching at moments.