Analysis

Philadelphia Phillies playoff picture: July 22



Rhys Hoskins (left) and Bryce Harper (right) hope to power up a Phillies playoff push in 2019. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

There are now 10 weeks remaining in the 2019 Major League Baseball regular season. That makes for the perfect beginning of a countdown. So, each Monday over these next ten weeks, I’ll update you on exactly where the Phillies stand in their attempts to return to the MLB postseason.

The last appearance by the Phillies in the MLB playoffs ended with first baseman Ryan Howard crumped on the ground at home plate after grounding out to end the club’s disheartening defeat in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS against the Saint Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park.

That loss by a Phillies team that had won 102 games in the regular season became the swan song for a once-great aging championship team. Every starting position player was over the age of 30, with the exception of right fielder Hunter Pence. Three of the pitchers who made up the club’s vaunted “Four Aces” starting rotation were over 32 years of age.

Over the next half-dozen seasons, management would begin the process of slowly and systematically turning over the roster in what became a major, lengthy rebuilding program, one that would ultimately include a change in that management structure itself.

That rebuilding program took a major step forward in this past off-season when half the everyday lineup was turned over. Newcomers Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen brought excitement at the outset of the season that hadn’t been seen down in South Philly since those halcyon days way back at the start of the decade.

Ryan Howard is helped off field after crumpling to ground at end of winner-take-all defeat to Cardinals in the 2011 NLDS.

The Phillies bolted out of the gate, took over first place in the NL East Division on April 25, and held that top spot until June 12. Prior to Independence Day, the club was never lower than second place in the division standings.

But the Phillies have pretty much been treading water for the last two months. McCutchen was lost for the season, blowing out his knee and taking a huge piece out of the lineup. Since May 25, the Phillies record is just 21-27, and they have fallen to third place.

There have been some signs of life over the last week or so. Against tough competition in the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, and through this past weekend series at steaming hot Pittsburgh, the Phillies have won five of their last eight games, including three of the last four.

Here is where the Phillies currently stand in both the division and wildcard races. Also included are the schedules for this week of any other club in reasonable contention.

NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST DIVISION

  1. Atlanta Braves  60-41 (KC – 2, at PHI – 3)
  2. Washington Nationals 52-46 (COL – 4, LAD – 3)
  3. Philadelphia Phillies 52-48 (at DET – 2, ATL – 3)

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE WILDCARD (two available)

  1. Washington Nationals 52-46 (COL – 4, LAD – 3)
  2. Milwaukee Brewers 53-48 (CIN – 3, CHC – 3)
  3. Saint Louis Cardinals 51-47 (at PIT – 4, HOU – 3)
  4. Philadelphia Phillies 52-48 (at DET – 2, ATL – 3)
  5. Arizona Diamondbacks 50-50 (BAL – 3, at MIA – 3), San Francisco Giants 50-50 (CHC – 3, at SD – 3)

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Alb

    July 23, 2019 at 3:53 pm

    For the record, Ryan Howard grounded out in that last 2011 at bat. He was running to first when his achilles blew up.

    • Matt Veasey

      July 23, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      Brain cramp – thanks for that tap on the shoulder. Will update the piece. Polite factual corrections are always appreciated.

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