*** PHILLIES ARE IN BOSTON FOR A TWO-GAME SET WITH RED SOX AT FENWAY PARK *** PHILLIES TIED WITH METS, TWO GAMES BEHIND CUBS FOR THE SECOND NL WILDCARD PLAYOFF SPOT ***

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Phillies now must buck the odds to make the playoffs

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Things have not gone as hoped in the first year of the Harper Era

For a second straight August, it all feels like it's falling apart for a Philadelphia Phillies season that once appeared destined to end in October.

The Phillies lost to the San Francisco Giants by a 3-1 score on Saturday afternoon. It was the club's fourth defeat in five games, their sixth in the last nine. They are 2-4 on a western swing through Arizona and NoCal that will end this afternoon by the bay.

This most recent losing stretch is part of a 27-35 performance since late May, one that has dropped the team from the top of the National League East Division standings into fourth place.

It's not just that the Phillies are losing in San Francisco - they aren't even showing up to play. Just three hits in yesterday afternoon's defeat. One hit in Thursday night's series opening loss to the Giants.



As recently as their postgame statements at the start of this past week, Phillies players were clinging to the hope provided by the standings. Fact was, they still controlled a National League Wildcard playoff berth. 

That is no longer the case. The Phillies woke up on Sunday morning at two games behind both the Saint Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals in the loss column. They also trail both the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets in that Wildcard race.

The stats show that the Phillies have earned this position. They have a -30 run differential. They are just 18th of the 30 MLB ball clubs in runs scored per game. The pitching staff is 22nd in batting average against and 23rd in OPS against.

In short, the Phillies are not a good baseball team right now, and they haven't been one for a few months.

All of this is reflected in the updated Fangraphs MLB playoff odds. Taking a wide variety of factors into consideration, Fangraphs now ranks three teams from the NL East as having better than even odds of reaching the postseason. None of those is the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Atlanta Braves, who hold a five game lead in the loss column in the division race, have a 98.1% chance of reaching the playoffs. The second place Washington Nationals are at 67.8%. And now, the red-hot New York Mets are rated as having a 53% chance at the postseason.

The Phillies? They now have a miniscule 8.8% chance at making the playoffs. Their odds at winning a Wildcard spot are at 8.5%, and actually roaring back to win the division at just 0.3%. The Phillies odds to win the World Series are at a nearly impossible 0.1% level.

So, if the Phillies are going to reach the Major League Baseball postseason for the first time in eight years, they are going to need a major hot streak. At this point, that would be seriously bucking the odds.

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