PHILADELPHIA -- Nobody computed playoff odds in 2007, but everybody knew then that the Phillies had almost no chance to win the National League East.
The Mets had a seven-game lead in the standings with 17 games to play, which meant the Phillies needed a miracle. Famously, the Phillies finished 13-4 and the Mets finished 5-12 as the Phillies captured their first NL East title since 1993. The 2019 Phillies will need a similar miracle finish to make the postseason for the first time since ‘11, but they kept their slim hopes alive with Thursday night’s 9-5 victory over the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
The victory kept them two games behind the Cubs and Brewers for the second NL Wild Card and tied with the Mets with 16 games to play.
“Yeah, there’s a big scoreboard out there that tells us the whole thing,” Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto said, asked if he knew they needed to win Thursday to keep pace in the race. “Obviously we're watching the other teams that we're behind and teams we're trying to keep up with. We knew they had all won today, so it was a big game for us. We needed to go out and get a 'W' and we got it done.”
The Phillies’ postseason odds moved from 2.5 percent to 3.8 percent with the win, according to FanGraphs. They won Wednesday because they hit four home runs and got a solid performance from the bullpen.
Five Phillies relievers allowed three hits and one run in five innings to secure the win. They allowed two runs in 16 1/3 innings in their past three games in the four-game series against the Braves. The Phillies won two of those games.
It might be the Phillies’ only chance at that miracle comeback: hit a bunch of home runs and get some decent relief pitching the rest of the way. There is reason to think the offense can pound its way to a few wins, but can the bullpen keep this up?
“Taking it one win at a time as a group,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “That's beneficial for us, coming together, deciding that we are going to fight to the very last second and that means grinding out every single pitch.”
The Phillies do not play Friday. They open a two-game series over the weekend against the Red Sox before an 11-game road trip through Atlanta (three games), Cleveland (three games) and Washington (five games). They finish the season with three at home against the Marlins.