January 29, 2023

Phillies waste yet-another opportunity in loss to Cubs, playoffs look long gone

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The Phillies’ annual September down-fall 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 in front of just 16,170 fans at Citizens Bank Park and they threw away a chance to pick up a game in the NL East race as first-place Atlanta Braves lost to the Colorado Rockies.

The Phils remain 4.5 games behind the Braves but they have just 18 games left. The Braves have 19 remaining.

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 promising as Kyle Gibson retired the Cubs’ first 12 hitters, seven on strikeouts. Odubel Herrera even hit a lead off home run!

Gibson imploded in the fifth inning. The righty 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 ended when pinch-hitter Freddy Galvis grounded into a double play, one of the 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. With how it’s been going, it doesn’t look likely that will happen.

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