This Has Not Been a Productive Thursday for the Phillies

If you're looking for the stat to define the Phillies' season, it's this one leading into Thursday's series finale against the Braves. This is how the Phils have played over the last month.

Last 2 games: 1-1
Last 4 games: 2-2
Last 6 games: 3-3
Last 10 games: 5-5
Last 12 games: 6-6
Last 14 games: 7-7
Last 16 games: 8-8
Last 18 games: 9-9
Last 20 games: 10-10
Last 22 games: 11-11
Last 24 games: 12-12

The essence of mediocrity.

The Brewers won their seventh straight game Thursday afternoon, completing a sweep of the Marlins.

The Mets won their fourth straight game, completing a sweep of the Diamondbacks.

The Cubs, losers of five of six through Thursday, beat the Padres.

As the Phillies prepare to play their 146th game of the season, they trail the Brewers and Cubs by 2½ games and the Mets by a half-game for the second wild-card spot (see standings). The D-backs have faded from the picture and are a game behind the Phillies.

This is where remaining schedules come into play. The Cubs begin a 10-game homestand on Friday: three vs. the Pirates, three with the Reds, four with the Cardinals. After that, it's another three-game series against the lowly Pirates.

The Brewers have a tough series this weekend in St. Louis, followed by a seven-game homestand against the Padres and Pirates, then a road trip to Cincinnati and Colorado. All four of those teams are playing out the string.

The Mets' road is a bit tougher. They have three at home this weekend against the Dodgers, followed by three in Colorado and three in Cincy. Then comes a four-game series vs. the Marlins before a season-ending set against the Braves.

The Phillies' schedule is by far the hardest. After the Braves series, they face the Red Sox twice at home then have an 11-game road trip to Atlanta, Cleveland and Washington. They will face a lot of good pitching on that trip: Dallas Keuchel, Mike Soroko, Mike Clevinger, Shane Bieber, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin. 

After Saturday's Aaron Nola-Eduardo Rodriguez pitching matchup, the Phillies could very well be the underdog in 12 consecutive games.

It's getting late. The projection systems don't like the Phillies' chances and nor does the fanbase, apparently. The Phillies have drawn an average of 24,000 fans in the first three games of the Braves series. They've been the weakest home crowds of the season, in mid-September, in a divisional series. Telling.

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