Phillies

Where Phillies are in playoff race entering final week

Phillies

The Phillies couldn't pull off the four-game sweep of the Blue Jays on Sunday but they still ended the weekend in a playoff spot, seventh in the eight-team National League field.

They are holding on by the slimmest of margins, leading the Reds, Brewers and Giants by just a half-game. Here's how it looks Monday:

5. Marlins (28-25)

6. Cardinals (26-24)

7. Phillies (27-26)

8. Reds (27-27)

-- Brewers (26-26)

-- Giants (26-26)

Six teams fighting for four spots. Nobody is catching the Padres for fourth.

Importantly, the Phillies have the first tiebreaker (divisional record) on all three of the teams below them. They should hold onto that tiebreaker unless they lose three of four to the Nationals this week.

The Phils have a four-game series Monday through Wednesday in D.C. The Nationals are 19-32. They're all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, 6½ back of the eight-seed with nine to play.

The Phillies, 6-0 against the Nationals this season, will not face Max Scherzer or Patrick Corbin in the series.

The Reds and Brewers play a three-game series Monday through Wednesday so they can help take care of each other. The Brewers then face the Cardinals this weekend to end the season.

The Giants have the easiest remaining schedule, playing all eight remaining games at home against the floundering Rockies and a Padres team that won't be able to move up or down in the race by the weekend.

The Phillies end their regular season in Tampa. At 35-19, the Rays have the best record in the American League. It is possible the Rays will have something to play for because the Yankees have won 10 of 11 and trail by 3½ games.

 

If that series becomes meaningless for the Rays and they rest starters, it could pay big dividends for the Phillies, who can start Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola Saturday and Sunday on regular rest but would rather save one or both for the first round of the playoffs. 

The first-round Best of 3 begins next Tuesday, September 29.