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The Scenarios With 9 Games Left

There's no mincing words here: the Phillies are up against a wall. It will take a very fortuitous turn of events for the Phillies to come back from their 2.5 game deficit to the Astros. As the situation stands on Wednesday, the Phils are 84-74 and the Astros are 86-71.

There are only nine games left that matter: the Phillies have four games remaining; the Astros five. The only concern any fan hoping for the Phillies to make their first postseason appearance since 1993 has today is how the Phillies can get into the playoffs given this situation.

Here are the scenarios:

If the Astros win 3 or more of their remaining 5 games: Phils cannot make the playoffs.

If the Phils win 0 or 1 of their remaining 4 games: Phils cannot make the playoffs.

If the Phils go 2-2: They force a one-game playoff with the Astros only if the Astros lose all 5 remaining games.

If the Phils go 3-1: They make the playoffs outright only if the Astros go winless in the remaining five; they force a one-game playoff if the Astros go 1-4.

If the Phils sweep their remaining games and go 4-0: They make the playoffs if the Astros go 0-5 or 1-4; they force a one-game playoff if the Astros go 2-3.

These are not happy scenarios for Phillies fans, which is why Baseball Prospectus has the Phillies' post-season probability at only 5.7% right now. But, a win tonight coupled with a couple of losses in a row from the Astros, and the Phillies are 1 game back with 3 to play. At that point, the weekend would get much more interesting than it appears it may be right now.

Phaithful phans can only hope....