CAN PHILLIES PLAYOFF HOPES SURVIVE THIS PITCHING MELTDOWN?

By Sam Bush

The Phillies pitchers have given up 40 runs in four games during this West Coast trip, the most in any four-game span since 2016.

“It’s a different team,” Bryce Harper said. “It’s a different group of guys. A different manager. We have a long ways to go. We have to keep playing our game, keep doing our thing. Not every night’s going to be like that.”

The Phillies entered the weekend with a better than 85 percent chance to make the postseason — according to three different public projection models — and it means they can spend more time thinking about the bigger picture.

As The Athletic’s Matt Gelb wrote:

Maybe, if the standings were different, Zack Wheeler would be pitching through some elbow inflammation. But he is not. The Phillies are in a position to be conservative with their pitching decisions. They aren’t cocky about it; just realistic.

That does not lessen the importance of this month for specific pitchers.

The Phillies expect to have Wheeler and Aaron Nola in the first two games of a three-game series. That gives them a fighting chance — even on the road. Who would start a decisive Game 3?

Or, another way of phrasing it: Who will step up right now when the Phillies could use some competent starting pitching?

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