Phillies continue skid with blowout loss to Nationals, fall into tie for third wild-card spot with Brewers

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The Philadelphia Phillies are in free fall. Saturday afternoon, the Phillies were blown out by the 102-loss Washington Nationals in Game 1 of their doubleheader (WAS 13, PHI 4), dropping them into a tie with the Milwaukee Brewers for the third National League wild-card spot. They are both 84-73. The loss is Philadelphia’s 11th in their last 15 games.

Things started well enough for the Phillies on Saturday, with Kyle Schwarber stealing home in the top of the first inning on a bit of a broken play. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the first, then broke it open with a five-run second inning against righty Kyle Gibson. Washington rookie Joey Meneses went 3 for 4 with a double, a homer, and 4 RBI in the game.

As recently as Sept. 23 the Phillies were a half-game up on the San Diego Padres for the second wild-card spot and 2 1/2 games up on the Brewers for a wild-card spot in general. Now they’re two games behind San Diego and tied with Milwaukee. The Phillies, who have not been to the postseason since 2011, own baseball’s longest drought now that the Seattle Mariners have clinched a spot.

It must be noted the Phillies won the season series 4-2 against the Brewers and hold the tiebreaker. MLB did away with Game 163 tiebreakers this year and all ties with be broken mathematically, so if the both teams finish with identical records for the third wild-card spot, Philadelphia will go to the postseason and Milwaukee will stay home.

The path forward gets no easier for the Phillies. They wrap up the regular season with three games on the road against the Houston Astros, who have clinched the American League’s best record. Philadelphia was swept by the 86-loss Chicago Cubs earlier this week and has now lost at least one game to the Nationals this weekend.

Philadelphia fired manager Joe Girardi in June and the played much better under interim Rob Thomson prior to this 4-11 stretch. If the club falls out of the postseason completely, larger changes could be made this offseason.

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