Twelve days ago I wrote about what it would take for the Phillies to make the playoffs. Since writing that article, here is how the NL Wild Card contenders have fared:
1. St Louis Cardinals: 5-6
2. Los Angeles Dodgers: 4-6
3. Milwaukee Brewers: 9-1
4. Philadelphia Phillies: 8-3
5. Arizona Diamondbacks: 6-3
6. Pittsburgh Pirates: 2-9
For the purpose of this exercise, I am eliminating the Pittsburgh Pirates. They are 5.5 games back with just 12 games to play and leapfrogging five teams with so few games left to play is not going to happen. Nor have they shown any sort of hint that they have a 11-1 or 10-2 run in them to even make it close.
So, for the Phillies to make the playoffs, the above teams would have to finish like this from here on out:
1. Philadelphia Phillies: 9-2 to finish 86-76
2. St Louis Cardinals: 5-6 to finish 85-77
3. Los Angeles Dodgers: 6-5 to finish 84-78
3. Milwaukee Brewers: 6-6)to finish 84-78
5. Arizona Diamondbacks: 7-5 to finish 82-80
It is a tall order for Philadelphia. If the Phillies go 9-2 to close out the season, that means they will have gone 17-5 since my original article and 32-11 in their last 43 games.
Their record since the All-Star break would be 49-26. The 49 wins since the All-Star break would not be unprecedented for this core. In the magical five-year run before this season, this is how the Phillies performed post-All Star break:
2007: 45-29 (.608)
2008: 40-26 (.606)
2009: 45-31 (.592)
2010: 50-25 (.667)
2011: 45-26 (.634)
So a 49-26 mark this year would basically be right in line with the previous five years.
Here is a breakdown of how the contending teams need to fare in order for the Phils to make the playoffs:
at Washington (1-2), at Cincinnati (1-2), vs Houston (2-1), vs San Diego (2-1)
vs Atlanta (2-0), vs Washington (2-1), at Miami (3-0), at Washington (2-1)
at Colorado (2-1), at San Francisco (1-2), vs Chicago (2-1), vs Colorado (2-1)
Realistically, the most difficult scenario to imagine is the Phillies going 9-2. Sweeping Atlanta and Miami is a lot to ask.
Washington still has the No. 1 seed to play for, so they probably will not be mailing in any games. But they have not been playing great baseball recently, winning just six of their last 13 games. It kind of feels like the Stephen Strasburg situation let some wind out of their sails.
This is not an article saying the Phillies will make the playoffs or will win nine of their last 11 games. It is merely a snap shot of what must happen in order for the Phillies to travel to Atlanta for the wild-card game.
With how wacky this 2012 season has been for the Phillies, at least it is fun to still be able to talk about the slim possibility of a playoff berth with just 11 games to play.