The Philadelphia Phillies have been closely following the Atlanta Braves for weeks now, but have been unable to break through and catch them to this point.
That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t do it in the final week of the season.
Right now, the Braves are 83-72, and the Phillies are 2.5 games behind, at 81-75.
The National League East division has been perhaps the worst in baseball, and that has kept the inconsistent Phillies alive and with real, tangible chances until the very end.
In fact, the Phillies missed a great opportunity to get even closer by losing exactly one game in each of their last three series against bad teams: one against the New York Mets, one versus the Baltimore Orioles, and another one against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
But guess which teams are going to face off to start the final week of the season?
Yes, the Braves and the Phillies.
Starting on Tuesday, the Braves will host the Phillies at Truist Park in a three-game series that will likely define their season.
A Crucial Series
If the Braves win the series, the Phillies can virtually kiss their playoff hopes goodbye.
However, if Philadelphia even takes two of three, they will enter the final series down just 1.5 games.
The Phillies have their destiny in their hands, and they have a clear chance of seizing the division with a sweep of the Braves and a series win against the Miami Marlins.
The Phillies will travel to Miami and play the Marlins from October 1 to 3.
The Braves, meanwhile, won’t leave their home and will host the Mets to close the season.
The Phillies – Braves series that will begin on Tuesday is crucial for both organizations, but their final three-game installments are awfully important, too, especially for Philadelphia.
If the Phils sweep the Braves but lose their series in Miami, they will leave the door open for the Braves to swoop in and retake the division lead again.
The final week should be amazing to watch.
In any case, Philadelphia has been playing very well lately, with seven victories in their last 10 games.
The Quest For An MVP And A Playoff Spot
The great Bryce Harper has been leading the charge, as he is pushing for the MVP award in 2021.
Bryce Harper is hanging onto his MVP chances and the Phillies are hanging onto their NL East title chances pic.twitter.com/HLhdriyVP9
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) September 25, 2021
His .313 /.434/.621 line and 34 home runs make him one of the favorites, but Washington Nationals star Juan Soto lurks.
Wheeler is a Cy Young candidate, having pitched to a 2.79 ERA in 206.1 frames with a very good 29.2 strikeout percentage.
Nola, on the other hand, hasn’t been as dominant from an ERA standpoint (4.64), but has the ability miss bats and has been excellent in the past.
Charlie Morton vs Zack Wheeler
Max Fried vs Aaron Nola
Ian Anderson vs Kyle Gibson
Feels like postseason a week early! pic.twitter.com/CUVz66e0I8
— Paul (@BravesStats) September 27, 2021
If those two are on their game, Philadelphia will have a chance to steal the division from the Braves.