The Phils rode another execrable start by free agent signee extraordinaire, Adam Eaton, to an 8-2 loss to the Rockies, falling into a virtual tie with them for second place in the wild card hunt.
Eaton allowed three home runs and four runs in five innings. In total the Phils used five pitchers, none of whom ended the night with an ERA under 4.75. Eaton continues to astound raising his ERA to 6.31, the highest among all major-league pitchers qualifying for the ERA crown by 40 points.
The Phils must now hope that the Dodgers overcome a 7-2 Padres lead in the bottom of the seventh to stave off falling behind San Diego by 2-1/2 games in the wild card hunt. Then again, that would put the Dodgers, Phils, and Rockies in a virtual three-way tie for second, a game and one-half behind the Padres.
Historically, teams that trailed a playoff leader by 2.5 games at the end of September 11 have ended up making the playoffs just 3% of the time (once in 35 tries) while those trailing by 1.5 have made the playoffs 16% of the time (5 in 31).
As for the NL East crown, the Phils remain six games behind the Mets who lost big (13-5) to Atlanta tonight. That's a lucky break since no team has come back from a deficit of over six games from September tenth on. If history is any indication, the Phils actually have a better chance of catching the Mets than the Padres. Teams trailing a playoff leader by six games, have made the playoffs 8% of the time (3 of 37).
Keep in mind that any team that has possession of a playoff spot as of September 11 has kept that spot 71% of the time. Also, even though the Phils can fall of the map in the NL East playoff race by falling behind by another game, they can't virtually eliminate themselves from the wild card race until they meet the Mets this weekend.
So what do we have ahead? Another season that comes down to the wire with the Phils tangentially approaching a playoff spot and never actually getting it. Time's running out on this season. Charlie Manuel's trying to swing a two-year extension. Ruben Amaro Jr. is rumored to be in the running for the Pirate GM joband you thought this team was run poorly? And we still have two more years of Adam Eaton and one more of Tom Gordon.