Phillies trudge along to new series while needing Rockies to keep winning


As J.T. Realmuto put it Sunday after the Phillies lost three of four at home to the Rockies, they "need to win every series the rest of the way and sweep a couple of them to catch the Braves."

The odds are not in their favor. The Phils' postseason chances are down to 13.2%, according to Baseball-Reference -- a 7.3% chance for the second wild card and a 5.9% chance of winning the division.

The Phillies enter Tuesday's series against the Cubs 4½ games behind the Braves in the NL East. They are 2½ games behind the Reds for the second wild-card spot, but they also trail the Padres and Cardinals in that race by two games.

The Phils are 72-71 with 19 games to go. They need help from the same Rockies team that just outplayed them, as Colorado heads to Atlanta for three games. The Rockies are 21-51 on the road.

The Phillies host the Cubs for three. On Tuesday night, Kyle Gibson opposes right-hander Adrian Sampson, who has a 5.37 career ERA in 22 starts and makes his third of the season. The Cubs (65-79) have lost four of five since an improbable seven-game winning streak against the Twins, Pirates and Reds.

Gibson has not pitched well his last two times out in Milwaukee in Miami, allowing 11 runs in 10 innings. The Phillies need quality starts from Gibson Tuesday and Ranger Suarez Wednesday night because Thursday looks like it will be another bullpen game. The Cubs have Kyle Hendricks penciled in to start that one, a veteran with finesse who can beat any team on a given night. 


The Phillies' week ends at Citi Field with their final three games of the year against the Mets. Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Gibson project to start in that series. The Braves have a 10½-game West Coast trip after hosting the Rockies -- three in San Francisco, four in Arizona and 3½ in San Diego, where they'll resume a suspended game in the fifth inning down one.

Offense has been a big issue lately for the Phillies, who don't have anyone hot at the plate other than Bryce Harper and Jean Segura. They sorely miss Rhys Hoskins' power and the 2020 version of Didi Gregorius. Their starting shortstop has hit .219/.277/.383 this season, hit .144 in 102 plate appearances with runners in scoring position and played below-average defense.

J.T. Realmuto had a three-hit game Sunday, his best since August 1. If the Phillies have one final gasp left, they'll need at least two of Realmuto, Andrew McCutchen and Gregorius driving in runs over the final three weeks.

"We've had guys that have had years that are not what we expected them to have," manager Joe Girardi said Sunday. "There's other spots that we have struggled as well, it's not just the left side of the infield. It's frustrating. It's hard to be consistent when you have that. You need production up and down your lineup to consistently win and that's something we struggled with this year."