The Phillies are on the verge of breaking their 11-year postseason drought, as they have whittled their magic number down to only one. A rain-shortened beatdown of the Nationals on Sunday afternoon, combined with the Brewers’ stunning loss to the Marlins, leaves the Phillies needing only one more win, or one more Brewers loss to clinch a postseason berth.
It hasn’t been pretty, as the Phillies entered a brutal tailspin to end the year. However, they seem to have nosed up at just the right time, winning three out of four against the Nationals. Sunday afternoon’s contest was entirely lopsided, as Phillies’ hitters teed off for eight runs on 11 hits in the shortened six inning game. J.T. Realmuto launched his 22nd homer of the season, while Matt Vierling and Alec Bohm each notched doubles. Kyle Schwarber and Bryson Stott knocked in three runs apiece as the Phillies cruised to an easy 8-1 victory.
On the mound, Zack Wheeler was every bit the ace we’ve come to expect, as he tossed 5.0 shutout innings, allowing only two hits and walking none, while punching out seven. Andrew Bellatti allowed one run in the sixth and final frame, but still managed to fan two hitters of his own. Wheeler’s dominance is welcome news for Phillies fans, as the 32-year-old has only been able to make three starts since coming off the Injured List on 21 September. While he’s combined for only 15.0 total innings in those three games, he’s been absolutely brilliant, allowing only one run and striking out 15. Wheeler seems to be right back to his normal Cy Young level of play just in time for October baseball.
Out in Milwaukee the Marlins have been the Phillies’ best friends, sneaking out one run victories on both Saturday and Sunday. The Brewers were able to jump back into wildcard contention during the Phillies’ recent run of terrible play, but back-to-back shockers from the Fish seem to have put the dagger in the struggling Brew Crew. After Sunday’s events, the Phillies need only one more win, or one more Brewers loss to clinch their first postseason berth since 2011.