Had the Phillies been able to continue their winning ways against the Atlanta Braves this week, they could have clinched the National League East in the comfort of their own homes tonight.
Instead they must wait for the final weekend of the season to make that happen.
The Phillies lost last night to the Braves, 10-4, to remain 1 1/2 games ahead of the Mets in the NL East standings with three games to play. The Mets, who blew opportunity after opportunity last night in a loss in extra innings to the Chicago Cubs, are tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL wild-card lead with four games to play. Both of those teams are scheduled to play tonight. So the Phillies will open their series tomorrow night against the Washington Nationals no worse than one game up and no worse than two games up.
Baseball Prospectus gives the Phillies an 85.04 percent chance to win the division, 12.42 percent chance to win the wild card and a 97.47 percent chance to make the playoffs overall. It gives the Mets a 14.96 percent chance to win the division, a 39.59 percent chance to win the wild card and a 54.55 percent chance to make the playoffs overall. It gives the Brewers a 47.89 percent chance to win the wild card.
"We know it," Jimmy Rollins said. "We're supposed to go out there and win ball games. The last two, we haven't. We've still got three games left and that's what we concern ourselves with."
"We're fine," Brett Myers said. "It's going to come down to the last three games like it did last year. We'll see what happens."
There is a table in the middle of the Phillies clubhouse, and above that table are two dry erase boards. Last night both boards said there is a meeting Friday at 3:15 p.m. The Phillies already held their playoff share meeting, where they decide who gets what should they make the playoffs. So that's not why they are meeting. It's also not believed to be a meeting Charlie Manuel called or other Phillies officials called for some community relations activities, etc. Player meeting? Could be. Jimmy Rollins said he had no idea what it was about, but I know this: the players are meeting about something Friday. It could be nothing. It could be something. But I thought I'd point it out anyway.
Bob Ford writes about the postseason race madness that is going on right now.
In the Phillies Notebook: the Phanatic, hot dogs, hot dog launchers and bomb squads.
Reason to be concerned about Myers? Manuel said he could be concerned about Myers' confidence. Myers abandoned his fastball the last two starts, although Myers said last night it was because he wasn't getting a good downhill plane on the ball. Regardless, his next start would be in the National League division series, so you have to wonder which Myers will show up: the stud that went 7-2 with a 1.80 ERA in his first 11 starts back from the minors or the guy that went 0-2 with a 15.12 ERA in his last two starts?
The Mets put their fans through hell in a loss at Shea. ... CC Sabathia, pitching on short rest for the second consecutive time, wanted the ball in his hand last night.
If the Phillies win the East and Mets win the wild card, the Phillies would open the playoffs against the Dodgers. If the Phillies win the East and the Brewers win the wild card, the Phillies would open against the Brewers. If the Mets win the East and the Phillies win the wild card, the Phillies would open against the Cubs.
Or something like that.