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It’s the final week of the regular season. What are we watching for?

Not just the playoffs, friend-o

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As the famous song once said, “Looks like we made it...”

After weeks of inconsistent play that had many people scratching their heads, followed by some really good baseball, the Phillies have entered the last week of the season. The tests that were in front of the team have been passed and now we know that the Phillies are likely going to be in the playoffs. You don’t want to say that’s been a foregone conclusion for a while, but c’mon - even the Phillies aren’t going to blow this opportunity.

With the team entering the final week of regular season play, now there are only a few boxes left to check before the next season begins. What are they?

When will they clinch the first wild card spot?

There has been much desire to make sure that the wild card round is played in Philadelphia. Last season, the team was happy to be in the playoffs at all, let alone have to go on the road. This year, with playoffs experience under the belts of many of the players, now they want to take advantage of the atmosphere Philadelphia provides in any big game setting.

So when can they clinch?

As soon as today!

Hey that’s fun! Remember last year when the fanbase had to sweat out each and every game in the final week of the season, not to mention pray that the Marlins beat the Brewers, just to get into the playoffs?

This year, not so much. Now, what about that top wild card seed? Well, they can still clinch it tomorrow, but they’ll need more help.

Major kudos to Destiny, who has been all over this the past week or so. She’s awesome.

We’re all well aware of the atmosphere that is created here in a playoff situation. Imagine some of the younger starters on some of the teams chasing the Phillies and how they’d react in the bullpen pregame, on the mound after throwing a few pitches out of the zone. Boy it sure would be nice to get that top spot...

How will they set up the playoff rotation?

Saturday afternoon looked quite sketchy in the Philadelphia area. There was doubt when we all woke up that morning that the game would be able to be played thanks to the storm that was swirling over the region, but the Phillies really, really wanted that game to be played.

They were fortunate to get the game in (and get a win), but what was the reason behind the Phillies trying as hard as they could to make sure it got played.

It’s been common knowledge that the first pitcher to toe the rubber for the Phillies in the playoffs would be Zack Wheeler. Were you one to follow and map out the rotation based on current plans, you would have noticed that with the way they were pitching, Wheeler wasn’t going to start game one of any wild card round on regular rest, something he has been vocal in wanting to be on even when they were using a six-man rotation. Since the game was played, now they can go ahead with their plan, something we should all be thankful for.

What about the rest of the group?

With yesterday’s game being started by Cristopher Sanchez, the rest of the week might look something like this:

Tuesday vs. PIT: Aaron Nola
Wednesday vs. PIT: Ranger Suarez
Thursday vs. PIT: Wheeler
Friday @ NYM: Taijuan Walker
Saturday @ NYM: Sanchez
Sunday @ NYM: Nola

That’s if they decided to keep everyone on turn. What that could mean is that once the playoffs start in earnest on Tuesday, October 3. Should Nola pitch that final Sunday, he wouldn’t be available to pitch until the following Friday, which would be the day before the NLDS starts. At that point, Wheeler would be able to go again on regular rest, something the Phillies would obviously prefer.

These are a lot of hypotheticals to juggle, which makes the clinching of the first wild card spot as soon as possible all the more important. Not only for the rest it would provide to all parts of the roster, but for the ability it would give Rob Thomson to get his rotation in order however he desires.

Statistical road markers

Once the team goals have been secured, there is no shame in turning your attention to what you can do personally. There’s no division to play for, the team is in the playoffs and the first spot will likely be picked up this week some time. That means some players are going to be trying to make some history for themselves. What exactly are we looking at?

  • Trea Turner and his steals
  • Alec Bohm and his home runs

These are just a few of the milestones that we should be looking forward to this final week of the regular season. It’s going to be a good one.