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Phillies eliminated from division contention as Braves clinch National League East

Ronald Acuna has been a major part of the Braves incredible season. (Thomson200/Wikimedia Commons)

The Philadelphia Phillies aren’t mathematically eliminated from reaching the postseason for the first time since 2011, though after a loss to the Atlanta Braves Saturday afternoon, the Phillies are eliminated from contention to win the National League East. The Atlanta Braves, for the first time in five seasons, are the National League East champs.

Though the Phillies bullpen was excellent a night after failing to hold a 4-1 lead, it came after Jake Arrieta allowed four runs in just two innings of work. It was the shortest outing of the 32-year-old’s career. The former National League Cy Young Award winner, who is making $30 million in his first season with the Phillies, now has a 3.94 ERA.

Meanwhile, Arrieta’s counterpart, 2018 National League All-Star Mike Foltynewicz, was excellent. The 26-year-old right-hander didn’t allow a single Phillies hit through the first six innings. Odubel Herrera ended Foltynewicz’s no-hit bid in the top of the seventh, when he smoked a leadoff single into center field. In total, Foltynewicz lasted seven-and-a-third innings Saturday, allowing just two runs.

The Phillies did cut into the Braves lead in the eighth inning, putting three runs on the board. The first two of those three runs came off of the bat of Cesar Hernandez, who lined a two-run single into right field off of former Phillies farm-hand Jesse Biddle. However, after Rhys Hoskins cut the lead to one run with an RBI single off of Brad Brach, the resurgent Jonny Venters retired Aaron Altherr and Carlos Santana, stranding two runners.

The Braves would tack on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, before Arodys Vizcaino retired Wilson Ramos, Roman Quinn and Maikel Franco in order in the ninth to clinch the National League East title.

The St. Louis Cardinals magic number to eliminate the Phillies from Wild Card contention is down to two. At the time of publication, the Cardinals are locked in an extra-inning battle with the San Francisco Giants. In any event, it appears to be a matter of when, not if, the Phillies are altogether eliminated from postseason contention.

With this loss, the Phillies are just two games above .500 with eight remaining games to go. The Phillies are three wins away from their first non-losing season since 2012. They are four wins away from their first winning season since 2011. Given that the Phillies are 19-28 since the start of August, nothing feels like a guarantee at this juncture.

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