In order for the Phillies to make the postseason, there is one number they, and Phils fans, should keep in mind — 87.
In a recent article for The Washington Post, Nationals beat reporter Barry Svrluga was talking about the Nats’ chances of reaching the postseason given their slow start, and came up with an eye-opening stat with regard to win totals and reaching October.
Since Major League Baseball went to the two-wild card format in 2012, there have been 63 teams to win at least 87 games. All but four, 59 of them, have made the playoffs.
The Phillies are at 70-60 on the season. They have 32 games left. Therefore, they need to go 17-15 the rest of the way in order to hit that magic 87 mark.
Is it a guarantee that winning 87 games means they make the playoffs? No. As I mentioned, there have been four teams over the last six years that hit that number and missed — the 2014 Mariners (87 wins), 2013 Rangers (91), and the 2012 Rays (90) and Angels (89).
But the vast majority of teams that hit the 87-win plateau make the postseason. The Phils are still just three games behind the Braves in the NL East and are two games outside of a wild card spot (trailing the Brewers), one game behind Colorado (who is also out at the moment), and 2 1⁄2 behind the Cardinals. The Dodgers are just a 1⁄2 game behind Philadelphia.
These five teams will all be battling for those two wild card spots, and it may take more than 87 wins to do it. It may take less, if everyone continues to beat each other up. Regardless, the Phils’ focus should be on simply winning series, and sweeping a few against bad teams here and there.
Just remember — 87 wins. That’s the best number to shoot for, and a 17-15 stretch over the next 32 games is certainly doable, even for a team as flawed as the Phillies.
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