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Phillies officially eliminated from the NL East

It’s over.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally over. We can all breathe a deep sigh of relief.

The Phillies have been eliminated from the NL East. They lost 5-3 to the Braves, who clinched the division right in our faces. At least they didn’t do it at Citizens Bank Park. They celebrated while I watched and wondered what it would be like for the Phillies to do that.

Jake Arrieta was bad today. There’s no way around it. He allowed two runs in the first and two in the second, and he didn’t go out for the third. It was the shortest start of his major league career.

For the first six innings of this game, the Phillies got no-hit by Mike Foltynewicz. Odubel Herrera broke it up to lead-off the seventh inning, and at least spare the Phillies that particular indignity for today.

For one precious inning, the Phillies had a little life. Down 4-0, they mounted a comeback in the eighth. They managed to score three runs off old friend Jesse Biddle, who is headed to the playoffs for the first time in his career, and good for him. But with just one out and runners on first and second, they couldn’t get anyone else home. The bullpen, which had kept the Braves at bay for five innings, lost it in the ninth and allowed two runs to make it 5-3. Half an inning later, it was over.

I’m sadder than I thought I would be. Watching the Braves celebrate their first postseason berth since 2013 was surprisingly tough. I wanted that to be the Phillies. Two months ago, we thought it might be. It’s been really not fun since then. But this is the right thing to happen. We’re not in the darkest timeline of the Phillies rebuild. The Braves are simply the better team, and there’s no argument otherwise.

There’s always next season. Now that might be something to see.