Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. believes the Phillies are a longshot to make the playoffs this season, telling MLB.com yesterday that such an occurence looks improbable at this point of the season.
"Right now, we're trying to win as many games as possible," Amaro told the website. "At the same time, at some point, we're going to have to start looking to the future. And once we're 'eliminated' … listen, is it a long shot to get back into this Wild Card race? It is. Numerically it's not impossible, but right now obviously I'd be foolish to say it's something that's probable."
The numbers back up Amaro's contention. The most favorable of playoff probability models, this one by FanGraphs.com, gives the Phillies a 0.2 percent chance at qualifying for the Wild Card. That’s roughly 1 in 500 odds, putting the Phillies in the same company as biblical-scale flood planes.
As Todd Zolecki notes, the Cardinals are currently on pace to take the last NL playoff spot at 86 wins. For the Phillies to finish with 86 wins, they would have to finish the season 33-8. As Amaro notes, such a run is improbable. The best 41-game streak in the majors this year is 29-12, by the Rays and the Angels. Last year, the Dodgers went 34-7 and 33-8 at different stretches during the season.