The Final Stretch: Phillies Playoff Chances, 4 Final Opponents, Situational Standings, and More
We’ve officially hit the final stretch of the 2021 MLB regular season. With just two weeks to play, the Phillies are right there in the hunt for the playoffs, in either the NL East or the NL Wild Card. After last night’s loss, they currently sit two games back of the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East, and 3.5 games back of the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card spot.
So what is it going to take for the Phillies to finally end their 9-year playoff drought? We’ve been starved of a Red October for what’s coming to a decade, and I can’t wait much longer. If there’s a year to at least just get there, it’s this year. Although the Phillies need to keep winning, other teams need to do us a favor as well.
Teams to Look Out For
Divisional Race: Atlanta Braves (2 game lead on Phillies in NL East)
The Phillies obviously need to keep winning, but some other teams need to lose some games to make it easier for us as well. The Braves are the most important team other than the Phils to watch. The Braves currently hold the lead for the NL East at two games and are the division winners if the season ended today. The Braves have an interesting final stretch here, with two of their four last series’ out west. Their final four matchups include…
4 Games @ the Arizona Diamondbacks
3 Games @ the San Diego Padres
3 Games vs the Philadelphia Phillies
3 Games vs the New York Mets
The west coast stretch is a weird one. The Braves start with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are obviously an awful baseball team; however, they tend to play better at home. It’s not by much, but in just their 48 wins, 20 of them come at home. They are -201 in run differential, 3-7 over their last 10, and hold the second-worst record in baseball, only behind the Orioles. The Braves should take care of business, but we’ve seen the Diamondbacks string some wins together at home this season (I don’t want to talk about it ). Maybe, just maybe, the DBacks can help us out and win a few games.
Atlanta will then travel to San Diego to take on the Padres. The Padres, still fighting for a wild card spot, are not out of the playoffs by any means yet. They still have something to play for, and knowing that, their home stadium should be alive and packed for this series.
And then, the Braves head home as the Philadelphia Phillies come to town. Hopefully, if everything goes according to plan, this will be the playoff-clinching series for the Phillies. It’s the final real divisional battle the Phillies have, due to the Marlins being eliminated. This series is going to be must-watch baseball, whether you’ve been tuned in all year or not. The Braves then welcome the Mets to town for their final series of the year. I hate the Mets more than any team in the world. But please, do us a favor New York, and win a series for us.
Wild Card Race: St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres
The NL Wild Card is a madhouse this year. All three of these teams listed above are fighting with the Phillies for that second wild-card spot, and are all within 3.5 games of each other. Below are each of these three teams’ final four matchups of the regular season.
|“In The Hunt” Wild Card Teams|
|Cardinals (Hold 2nd Spot)||Reds (3 GB)||Padres (3.5 GB)|
|4 Games @ Brewers||3 Games vs Pirates||3 Games vs Giants|
|4 Games @ Cubs||4 Games vs Nationals||3 Games vs Braves|
|3 Games vs Brewers||2 Games @ White Sox||3 Games @ Dodgers|
|3 Games vs Cubs||3 Games @ Pirates||3 Games @ Giants|
Some notable games are taking place for these teams. The Cardinals have 7 games left vs the Brewers, which could result in a lot of losses with how Milwaukee has been playing. The Reds facing the White Sox in Chicago, and the Padres extremely difficult remaining schedule. Anything could happen, and if the Braves keep winning, the wild card could be the back door for the Phillies to get in.
What do the Phillies need to do?
Win. It’s plain and simple, and couldn’t get any easier than that. The Phillies when it comes down to it, really do control their own destiny. Their final games are mostly all easy games. The question is like it’s been all year…will the Phillies capitalize on bad teams?
Phillies Final Four Matchups
3 Games vs the Baltimore Orioles
4 Games vs the Pittsburgh Pirates
3 Games @ the Atlanta Braves
3 Games @ the Miami Marlins
The Orioles and Pirates have a combined record of 103-195. They are two horrendous baseball teams that should honestly be playing for a better draft pick at this point. The Phillies should beat up on both of these teams, win one or two against Atlanta, and not even have to worry about their last series against Miami.
The offense is going to be the biggest key over the last four series’. Bryce Harper is the MVP of the league, having one of the best seasons I have ever watched from a Philadelphia athlete. He’s slashing .408/.531/.959 over his last 15 games, with 7 HRs, 17 RBIs, and 20 hits. Harper is doing everything he can to get this team to the playoffs, but he can’t do it all. The Phillies are going to need everyone to step up, including JT Realmuto, who has been struggling over the last 30 games (.250/.336/.389).
The final stretch is upon us, and the final home-stand begins tonight. The Orioles come to town for a three-game series, with the Phillies looking to take advantage of the last-place Baltimore Orioles. Below is tonight’s lineup, with Ranger Suarez taking the hill in the series opener.
Ladies and gentlemen, lock-in. We’ve hit the final stretch. Will the 9-year drought of Red October finally come to an end?
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