Approach final 3 weeks with realism

The Phillies won two games Sunday and slipped closer to elimination. 

Yes, it's true. While most of what you heard was overwhelming positivity about a potential miracle run at the second wild card berth, the Phillies' tragic number dipped to 17. Any combination of 17 St. Louis wins and Philadelphia losses eliminates the Phillies. The Cardinals won Sunday.

Once "7 back with 17 to go" entered the lexicon of a city, the wildest of dreams are harbored. The Phillies trail St. Louis by six games with 22 to play. This is cake, right?

Here is reality: If the Cardinals merely play .500 baseball (11-11) for the remainder of the season, the Phillies must finish 18-4, an .818 clip. Even then, with two other teams ahead of the Phillies, it could take more than 18-4. 

They have had three stretches of 19-3 baseball in the last three seasons; twice in 2010 and once in 2009. The Phillies' best 22-game stretch in 2012 is 15-7, which has happened in the last 22 games.

So while the Phillies may be peaking now, realize the true odds of staging this comeback., which simulates the remainder of the season one million times, estimates the Phillies have a 0.7 chance of making the postseason.

Through 140 games in 2007, the Phillies trailed New York by six games. Their odds to win the division then were 4.7 percent. 

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