Playoffs? The Real Question Might Be Whether Free-Falling Phillies Will Even Have Winning Season

The Phillies' September struggles continued Tuesday night against the Cubs with another loss at home.

Playoffs? Phillies may not even be guaranteed a winning season originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies’ annual September swoon continued to gain steam Tuesday night with another loss against a team with a losing record.

And if the Phillies aren’t careful, they could have a losing record as soon as Wednesday night.

The Phils dropped to 72-72 in a 6-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park and they squandered a chance to pick up a game in the NL East race as first-place Atlanta lost to Colorado.

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The Phils remain 4 ½ games behind the Braves but they have just 18 games left. The Braves have 19 remaining.

Even if the Braves play poorly the rest of the way, it will be difficult for the Phillies to catch them. For instance, the Braves could go 9-10 the rest of the way and the Phils would have to go 13-5 just to tie them.

The Phils remain in the wild-card race, but trail three teams.

Tuesday night's loss dropped the Phillies to 4-8 this month and they have lost six of their last seven games, including four against the Rockies and Cubs, two teams that were a combined 26 games under .500 entering play Tuesday.

Over the last four Septembers (2018-2021), the Phils are an abysmal 37-61.

Tuesday night’s game started promisingly with Kyle Gibson retiring the Cubs’ first 12 hitters, seven on strikeouts.

Gibson imploded in the fifth inning.

The right-hander allowed a leadoff single to Willson Contreras then a two-run homer to Patrick Wisdom. Alfonso Rivas followed with a line drive into the right-field seats and suddenly the Phillies were down, 3-1. Four batters later, the Cubs made it 4-1 on an RBI double by Rafael Ortega.

The Phils came back with two in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Cubs’ lead to 4-3. Jean Segura led off with a double, chasing starter Adrian Sampson, and Bryce Harper followed with an RBI double. Harper then came around to score on a one-out single by Didi Gregorius. The rally stalled when pinch-hitter Freddy Galvis grounded into a double play, one of four the Phillies hit into.

The Cubs pulled away with a pair of two-out runs against reliever Sam Coonrod in the seventh. Coonrod allowed three doubles in the inning. Frank Schwindle’s two-bagger put the Cubs up, 5-3, and it came on a 0-2 slider that hung over the plate. The Phillies allowed a pair of 0-2 homers in losing to Colorado on Sunday.

Gibson joined the Phillies from Texas in a trade deadline deal. His first five starts were all quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) and the Phillies went 4-1 in those games. He has struggled in his last three, allowing 15 earned runs in 15 innings and the Phils have lost all three.

Ranger Suarez pitches for the Phillies on Wednesday night.

The Phils have not made the playoffs since 2011 and they also have not had a winning season since then. They will need to go at least 10-8 in their final 18 games simply to have a winning season.

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