Red October: A Complete Guide for the Phillies Playoff Chances
The National League playoffs are set to begin next Wednesday for Major League Baseball. For the Phillies, the playoffs start tonight. Every game in Tampa Bay will carry the importance of the postseason. The Phillies need to handle their business if they want to continue baseball into October.
The Phillies do not control their own destiny and will need some help from around the National League. They will take the field tonight outside of the NL’s 8-team playoffs.
It’s been nearly a decade since the Phillies have reached the post season. That year, the Phillies went on to win a franchise-record 102 games behind a group of Pitchers that were commonly referred to as “The Four Aces”. At the time, the Phillies were being mentioned as one of the great franchises in baseball; a “dynasty” that was talked about with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Rox. Instead, we watched Ryan Howard collapse running up the 1st base line with a torn Achilles Tendon and the Phillies have yet to return to October.
Now we’re here. Vincent Velasquez will start tonight for the Phillies as they make one final push to get into the playoffs.
Joe Girardi will treat this like a playoff game. Velasquez will be on a short leash. Spencer Howard is expected to be activated from the injured list and will most likely find himself in the bullpen. Eflin, who pitched amazing Wednesday night, also said that he would be ready if needed out of the bullpen for the Phillies.
Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola will start Saturday and Sunday. Surprising enough, the Phillies are 0-4 in their last four games starting by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. The Rays have not announced their starters for Saturday or Sunday, but the Phillies will NOT see Tampa Bay’s two stop starters, Blake Snell or Tyler Glasnow, since they pitched against the Mets this past week.
As mentioned above, the Phillies do not control their own destiny. They will need help from other teams.
Wild Card: The Phillies need to keep an eye on the Giants, Reds, Brewers, and Cardinals.
- Giants are home this weekend against the Padres.
- The Reds will be visiting the Twins.
- The Brewers will be in St. Louis for five games in four days against the Cardinals.
The good news is, all six National League teams fighting for a playoff spot are also playing teams that are either already in the postseason, or still trying to get in. There’s no team that is playing someone who’s already looking ahead to 2021.
- The Twins will be playing the Reds (a team to watch) and still need to clinch their division.
- The Cardinals and Brewers are still fighting for a playoff spot.
- The Padres are locked into the 4th seed and don’t have much to play for agains the Giants other than carrying momentum into the playoffs.
Division: The Phillies will have to pass the Miami Marlins, who are in New York to play three games against the Yankees.
The Rays clinched the AL East on Wednesday but still need to secure the 1st overall seed which would allow them to face Toronto in the 1st round of the playoffs. The Yankees can finish as high as the 4th seed but their 1st round opponent is yet to be decided.
I would think that both teams will likely balance trying to win while resting key players as needed before the American League playoffs begin Tuesday.
The Miami Marlins got some help from Atlanta last night. They won 4-2 against the Braves. They can clinch second place in the NL East and the playoff spot that goes with it Friday with a win over the Yankees AND a Phillies loss to the Rays since the Phillies are one game back of the Marlins and the Marlins own the tiebreaker.
Here’s how the Phillies make the Playoffs:
The Phillies sweep the Tampa Bay Rays:
- The Marlins win 1 of 2 against the Yankees.
- The Reds win 1 of 2 or worse against the Twins
- The Brewers split their series with the Cardinals.
The Phillies win 2 of 3 Games:
- The Marlins get swept by the Yankees.
- The Giants split their series with the Padres.
- The Reds get swept by the Twins.
The Phillies lose 2 of 3 Games:
- The Giants only win one game against the Padres.
- The Brewers lose 2 of 4 to the Cardinals.
- The Cardinals get swept by the Brewers.
The Phillies get swept:
- Giants get swept.
- Brewers get swept.
- Cardinals get swept.
The MLB Postseason will not move to their “bubble” until the second round of the playoffs. Each team will be quarantining this week in preparation. The Phillies are confined to their hotel in Tampa Bay except when they go to the ball park. Assuming they advance, they will travel straight to their next city (Houston or Arlington) without coming home.
As mentioned, the National League postseason bubble will be in Houston and Arlington. The American League will stay in San Diego and Los Angeles.
The World Series will be in Arlington, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. First, the Phillies need to get through the weekend against the Tampa Rays.