With the regular season winding down today, the overriding storyline is whether the front office and manager Gabe Kapler and his coaching staff will keep their jobs.
That will most likely be announced after the game, or possibly even tomorrow, but as for game #162 itself there are some things at stake:
A winning season
“Winning” as in its most basic form of winning more games than they lose. By winning the first two games of this final series, they stand at 81-80 coming into play, and a win today would give them their first winning season since the ill-fated juggernaut of 2011.
Winning the Marlins season series
Failing to beat up on the Marlins (like the rest of the NL East has), is one of the reasons the Phillies are where they are. The season series is now tied at 9-9 after the Phils’ wins the last two nights, and it will be of some symbolic significance if they can at least avoid a losing record vs. the lowly Fish.
Harper and the triple 100
Bryce Harper is currently at 114 RBI, 98 runs scored, and 99 walks. Two more runs and a walk would make him only the 6th player in franchise history with 100-100-100, joining these fine gents:
Ryan Howard: 2006
Bobby Abreu: 2001, 2004, 2005
Jim Thome: 2004
Mike Schmidt: 1974, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1983
Dolph Camilli: 1936
The only three players to do it so far this year are Mike Trout, Alex Bregman, and Juan Soto. Harper is the only one close.
Avoiding pitching history
One storyline we thought would be more prominent now was the record for HRs allowed. Coming into this season, the 2016 Reds held the MLB record (and obviously the NL record) for most allowed, at 258. Four teams have already blown by that this year, including the Orioles (with an anti-Twins 305), and the Rockies (268 so far), who set a new record for the NL.
The Phillies were on a record setting pace earlier this year, but have improved somewhat and are at “only” 255. At the end of July they were on pace for 274. Since August 1 they’ve given up 74 in 54 games, a pace of 222 per 162.
A bit anticlimactic now, especially with the Rockies taking away their chance at NL history, but if they give up less than three homers today they at least avoid reaching the Reds’ old record.