By Jenny Masters
In the old days, when the Phils were terrible and played at the Vet, fans would go to games as early as July and August, give up on the Fightins and chant:
“Fly, Eagles, Fly!”
The point, of course, was that the Phillies had no hope and the Eagles did.
There may not have been any such cheers last night at Citizens Bank Park, but there will be in the nights to come.
Take that to the bank, so to speak.
Because the Phillies are choking away what diminished chance they have to make the playoffs.
The pennant race in Philly has turned into a The Long Goodbye.
Patrick Wisdom and Alfonso Rivas hit back-to-back homers for the Chicago Cubs in a 6-3 win last night.
“On however many teams, the calendar obviously runs out,” starting pitcher Kyle Gibson said. “I think we’re getting to the point there where it does.”
The Phillies lost again to another team long out of the postseason hunt. The Phillies just dropped three of four at home to Colorado, which is 21-51 on the road.
The Phillies remained 4½ games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East and 2½ games behind Cincinnati in the wild-card race. San Diego and St. Louis are ahead of the Phillies for the second wild card.
“I don’t want to make it seem like we aren’t playing with a sense of urgency, because I think we are,” Gibson said. “I also don’t necessarily want to make too much of the situation.”
The Phillies fell to .500 at 72-72 and have lost six of seven with 18 games left.
“We’re working every day, we’re trying to get guys right,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We still have an opportunity here. We just need to play better.”
Bryce Harper had an RBI double in the sixth, continuing continued his torrid pace, and scored in the inning to make it 4-3. He entered with an MLB-best 1.032 OPS, which would have made the star outfielder a more serious MVP candidate had the Phillies truly been in a pennant race. Harper may see his chances wane with each September loss.
This Phillies’ loss was like so many others, a trend so predictable that only 16,170 fans were announced for a so-called important game. The Phillies were humming along 1-0 on a leadoff homer by Odubel Herrera and four perfect innings — with seven strikeouts — from Gibson (10-7)).
Poof, it was gone.
Wilson Contreras led off the fifth with a single, Wisdom hit his 26th homer of the season and Rivas followed with the first of his big-league career. It was 3-1 in 12 pitches.
Rafael Ortega added an RBI double for a 4-1 lead. He added an RBI double in the seventh to make it 5-3 and scored on Ian Happ’s double.
Wisdom hit the latest crushing homer against the Phillies facing two strikes. Colorado’s Garrett Hampson hit two 0-2 pitches for homers in Sunday’s 5-4 win.
“There’s too many 0-2 pitches right in the heart of the zone,” Girardi said. “If a guy takes a pitch down and away and it’s just on the corner and he hits that, you kind of go, ‘OK.’ But not the ones that are in the heart.”
Adrian Sampson (1-2) gave up two runs in five innings.
“The thing that stands out to me is just the way he pitches and throws strikes,” Cubs manager David Ross said. “He’s never in a ton of trouble. You feel like he’s a grounder away.”
Rowan Wick struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save.