2021 MLB Postseason

Phillies' Playoff Drought Reaches 10 Years After Braves Sweep

Phillies' postseason drought reaches 10 years in lifeless sweep at Atlanta originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There is only darkness.

Familiar, agonizing darkness.

The Phillies' postseason drought has reached a decade.

Six months after opening the season with a three-game sweep of the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies found themselves on the wrong end of a three-game sweep to the very same club Thursday night.

The Phillies' 5-3 loss in Atlanta eliminated them from postseason contention as the Braves popped champagne corks in celebration of their fourth straight National League East title.

The Phillies have three games remaining, all in Miami against the Marlins, before heading home for the winter for the 10th straight year without a postseason appearance. Only the Seattle Mariners, who last made the postseason in 2001, have gone longer without making the postseason and they remain alive in the American League wild-card race.

At 81-78, the Phillies need at least one win to have their first winning season since 2011.

The way this team is limping to the finish line, one must wonder if they'll even get that win.

The Phillies did not swing the bats well in Atlanta. They entered the series on the heels of being shut out by Pittsburgh in their final home game Sunday then scored just six runs in the three games in Atlanta. Two of those runs were unearned.

The Phillies headed to Atlanta trailing the Braves by 2½ games. Yes, the odds were against the Phils, but they weren't impossible. The Phils basically needed to sweep the Braves -- just like they did back in April -- to stay alive and put the pressure on Atlanta heading into the final week of the season. 

Instead, it was the Phillies who were swept.

With the exception of a couple of late homers by Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto in Thursday night's game, the bats barely put up a fight.

The Phils had just 13 hits in the three games.

MVP candidate Bryce Harper went 0 for 11 with five strikeouts in the series.

Jean Segura went 1 for 12

Realmuto went 1 for 12.

Not enough.

Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola delivered quality starts in the first two games of the series, but Charlie Morton and Max Fried were both better in leading the Braves to wins of 2-1 and 7-2.

On Thursday night, Kyle Gibson was tagged for five runs in 4⅓ innings. He gave up four hits, solo homers by Jorge Soler and Austin Riley, an RBI double by Dansby Swanson and an RBI triple by Ozzie Albies.

Braves right-hander Ian Anderson, taken two picks after the Phillies selected Mickey Moniak first overall in the 2016 draft, made it three straight strong starts for the Braves. He held the Phillies scoreless over the first six innings before allowing a two-run homer to McCutchen in the seventh. Realmuto homered against reliever Luke Jackson with two outs in the eighth to make it a two-run game.

The Phils did not get any closer.

There is only darkness.

Again.

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