Spiral continues for Phillies; club falls further back in NL East race

Phillies spiral continues
Joe Girardi mentioned last week that the Phillies had an opportunity in Miami to put some distance between his club and the Marlins while solidifying a spot in the playoff race.

Now a week later, things look very different than what Girardi and Co. hoped. The Phillies lost five of seven games in Miami - including a 6-2 loss on Monday - and now trail the Fish for second place by 1 1/2 games in the NL East.

The Phillies lost the final three games of the series by a combined score of 16-4.

“It’s always frustrating when you don’t score runs,” Girardi said. “I think it would be inhuman not to be frustrated, but obviously we’re still in a sense in control of our own destiny to get to the playoffs. And our guys can’t forget that. We won’t forget that. We’ve been here before where we haven’t played so well and we bounced back and played really well and that’s what we need to do."

Trouble is, they'll have to do it without two of their best bats over the next few days. Rhys Hoskins was placed on the 10-day injured list on Monday with a forearm strain and J.T. Realmuto remains sidelined with a strained left hip flexor.

The Mets come to Philadelphia to open a three-game set on Tuesday. They sit just 2 1/2 games behind the Phillies.

“To be honest, I’m pretty confident right now that we’re going to be just fine,” Realmuto said. “I know it was a pretty tough series here in Miami for us but I’m confident that when we get back home, we’ll get back going in the right direction. We just have to get back on the field, get healthy. I know it sounds repetitive, but we just have to play better. That's what it comes down to. No matter who is on the field, guys have to step up and we have to win games. Right now, we’re in a playoff spot and we really haven’t played very well. We just need to play better. That’s what it comes down to.”

If the playoffs were to begin today, the Phillies would be the No. 7 seed and play a best-of-three first-round Wild Card series in Chicago against the Cubs. The Giants, however, are a half-game behind the Phillies in the No. 8 spot. As of now, the last entry into the playoffs will have to travel to Los Angeles for an opening series with the Dodgers who currently have the best record in all of baseball.

This three-game set with the Mets is pivotal for the Phillies.

"This is the life we live,” Girardi said. “This roller coaster in this game of baseball. You have good streaks and you have bad streaks, and you have to limit the length of your bad streaks. We have to find a way to go out and win a game tomorrow. It’s not going to get any easier, but that’s baseball. This is what it is. That’s why this game can be so frustrating sometimes. Because you get in these roller coasters, but we’ve bounced back before and we need to do it again.”
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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