The 2020 Phillies are on the brink of death.
They lost another lead on Saturday night by losing to the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3.
The defeat meant the Phillies could be knocked out of the playoff game in hours, depending on the outcome of the San Francisco-San Diego West match.
A Giants win would eliminate the Phillies.
A Giants defeat would give life to the Phillies as they head into the final day of the season on Sunday. If the Giants lose, the Phillies can sneak into the playoffs with a win on Sunday and defeats by the Giants and Brewers. The Giants were 3-0 behind in the seventh inning on Saturday night.
If your confidence level in the Phillies is low, that’s understandable. They have lost six of their last seven games to drop three games under .500. The most they can finish is two games under .500. They haven̵
If they were to somehow make the playoffs this season, they would be the first team ever to do so with a losing record. An eight-team playoff field made it possible.
The Phillies lost for the 21st time after maintaining an advantage at one point in the game. This is the best in the majors.
They drove in 49 of the 59 games.
Zack Wheeler finished in eighth place, gave up four points and scored eight. He had 118 shots, the most since a Phillies starter since Cole Hamels’ no-hitter against the Cubs in July 2015.
Wheeler came out with the Phillies behind a run.
Andrew McCutchen’s solo homer at the top of the fifth inning gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
Wheeler returned the lead at the bottom of the inning when he conceded three two-out runs.
Spoke receiver Mike Zunino, who hit .125, equalized the game with a single that scored Manuel Margot, who had doubled up with one out.
Wheeler kept the inning alive by hitting the next hitter with a pitch and paid for it when Brandon Lowe patted a single RBI on the other side of a Phillies round. If shortstop Didi Gregorius weren’t on duty, Wheeler would have been out of the inning with the game tied. Instead, Lowe’s shot scored a point and the Rays added another on a Willy Adames shot to climb 4-2.
The Phils pulled back on the singles of McCutchen, Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper in seventh place. They could have achieved more during the innings, but J.T. Realmuto stopped in a double game and Jean Segura hit with a man in third.
Hard to believe
The Phillies have lost each of Wheeler’s last three starts.
This was the first time in 11 starts for the Phils this season that he has given up more than three runs.
McCutchen, who had a great night, opened the third inning with what looked like a triple. After a review, he was told to retire to second because the ball got stuck under the outfield padding.
If the triple had stayed, McCutchen would have scored on Realmuto’s double in the middle. Instead, he was knocked out to the pot by Kevin Kiermaier, Tampa Bay’s Gold Glove center-back. It turned out to be a huge run.
Aaron Nola (5-4, 3.06) is expected to make what could be the most important start of his career in the regular season finale on Sunday afternoon. The first launch is at 3:05 pm The Rays have not announced a starter.
The Phillies have lost Nola’s last two starts. The right-hander conceded eight points earned in 11 innings in these two outings.