Welcome to the Final Week of the Regular Season
Phillies prospect Adonis Medina was on the mound for the Phillies yesterday in the series finale for the Phillies against the Blue Jays. The Phillies were looking for the sweep but weren’t able to get it. Medina had a rough start before settling down and retiring the last 8 batters he faced. He finished with 4IP, 3H, 2ER, 3BB, 4K.
Not terrible for the kid’s MLB debut but definitely not enough to bring a win home for the Phillies, who still find themselves in the 7th seed, a game behind the Marlins for a guaranteed playoff spot and 4 games back of the NL East leading Atlanta Braves.
More injury bad news came in the 7th inning as Bryce Harper exited the game because of stiffness in his lower back. He was not available for comment after the game yesterday, but was clearly dealing with some discomfort.
Hopefully it’s not too serious. The Phillies are already dealing with injuries to JT Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins. Realmuto was hopeful to play today but Girardi stated that he wasn’t quite there yet. He could be available as a DH if the Phillies are without Bryce Harper. Bryce, who finally got out of a near 3-week slump, was hitting .277 with 5 doubles, 4 home runs, 7 RBIs, and a 1.009 OPS in his last 13 games.
Rhys Hoskins will try swinging a bat at some point this week. It’s unclear if he will need surgery but once he gets his grip down and attempts to swing, that picture will become more clear. He can be activated from the 10-day injury list as soon as Wednesday.
Jake Arrieta and Spencer Howard played catch yesterday. Howard can also be activated from the 10-day IL on Wednesday. Arrieta, will not pitch this week but is still hopeful for a return in the playoffs if the Phillies are able to secure a spot over the next 7-games.
The Giants, Reds, and Brewers are all tied for the 8th seed in the expanded National League playoff race. They each won yesterday, moving them a mere half game behind the Phillies.
The Phillies remaining opponents win % sits right at .500. Its a good place to be for the Phillies who have hovered around .500 themselves for most of the month. They’re 6-0 against the Nationals and open up a 4-game series with them today.
The Phillies announced their 40-man postseason player pool on Sunday evening. The group includes 21 pitchers, 4 catchers, 8 infielders, and 7 outfielders. A full list can be found here.
Zack Wheeler will kick things off against the Nationals today at 6:05pm. Wheeler pitched great against the Mets last Wednesday, which was his first start since injuring himself putting on pants.
Wheeler will take the mound against Anibal Sanchez. Sanchez has struggled this year and is 2-5 with a 7.38 ERA. He did earn himself a no-decision against the Phillies on September 3rd. He threw just 3.1 innings and allowed four runs off nine hits.
The Phillies should be able to hit Sanchez early and rely on Wheeler to control the flow of the game.
The final week. The Phillies are currently in the playoffs and would face the Cubs in the 1st round. It would be great to catch the Marlins and earn a guaranteed playoff spot as the 2nd place finisher in the National League. They control their own destiny.
The Phillies haven’t reached the playoffs since Ryan Howard limped up the first-base line, a picture that has been burned into my brain for the rest of my life. That may very well change this week.
Ring that bell, baby.