MLB Wild Card: Phillies watch Brewers lose, then beat Nationals to increase playoff lead

WASHINGTON — The Phillies were expected to win two games on Friday. But when the final stages of Hurricane Ian made that impossible, they did the next best thing.

They won one.

They will be looking for two on Saturday.

If Ian cooperates.

Desperate for wins to maintain their lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the final National League playoff spot, the Phillies beat the Washington Nationals, 5-1, in Game 1 of a vital four-game series on Friday. afternoon. Both teams were scheduled to play a second game Friday night, but that game was postponed due to rain about 30 minutes before the scheduled first pitch.

Saturday’s forecast is not promising but the teams will try to play two again. A separate admission doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Kyle Gibson will start Game 1 for the Phillies and Noah Syndergaard will get the ball for Game 2.

If the rain comes again on Saturday, the teams will try to play a doubleheader on Sunday. Only one match with a start time of 1:35 p.m. is already scheduled for that day.

If weather prevents the Phillies and Nationals from completing the four-game series, the Phillies would return to Washington to play a game on Thursday, the day before the playoffs start, if that game impacts the playoff race.

The Phillies are expected to close out the regular season with games in Houston on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

After the disaster that was Chicago, the Phillies were quite happy to get a victory Friday afternoon. The win pushed their lead over Milwaukee to a full game, but stay tuned, the Brewers were scheduled to face the Miami Marlins on Friday night, so there will be more movement in the standings.

Before arriving in Washington, the Phillies were swept by the Cubs in Chicago, extending their losing skid to five at the most inopportune moment. The Phillies’ offense was brutal, scoring just three runs and no homers in all three games at Wrigley Field. That’s why Rhys Hoskins’ first-inning homer against Washington right-hander Erick Fedde was so huge on Friday.

“It brings a little more energy and noise into the dugout,” Hoskins said of the timing, “but I really think just a first-inning point is going to do us a lot of good there. I thinks everyone needs to take a deep breath, knowing that we can still score points.

“Again, Chicago wasn’t good, plain and simple, but we know we’re still there. We still have a chance as long as we continue to focus on what lies ahead.”

The Phillies, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2011, are in control of their own destiny. With six games left, their magic number on the Brewers is five. That includes a tiebreaker earned by winning the season series against the Brewers.

The Brewers had a chance to get revenge on the Phillies on Thursday night, but blew a 2-0 lead when Miami’s Avisail Garcia hit a grand slam in the top of the eighth inning to give his club a 4-2 win.

Once upon a time, the Marlins were killers of the Phillies, shooters of the Phillies’ playoff prospects. This time they were Phillies assistants. A win for the Brewers would have propelled them half a game ahead of the Phillies entering Friday’s schedule.

The Phillies were driving from the airport to the team hotel in Washington when Garcia won the Grand Slam which kept the Phillies ahead of the Brewers.

“We had just landed,” Hoskins said. “We were on the bus, all huddled around a phone. It was pretty cool to watch.”

He smiled.

“I’m a huge Avisail Garcia fan.”

In addition to the first-inning homer, Hoskins had an RBI single in Friday’s win. Bailey Falter, roughed up by Atlanta in his previous start, pitched six shutout innings.

“After my poor performance in my last outing, it feels good to go out there and give the team a chance to win,” Falter said. “The boys deserved it. I was just happy to deliver for them.”

Falter has spent the season replacing injured starters and those who might need rest. He did it pretty well. The team is 7-2 in its last nine starts.

Perhaps Avisail Garcia’s grand slam on Thursday night and the Phillies’ victory over Washington on Friday afternoon will be the wake-up call that will turn this team around and push them toward the playoffs. Granted, the Phillies have to make hay against Washington, the majors’ worst team — the Phils are 14-2 against the Nats — as Houston looms next week and the Astros at 102 wins, who will have a first round in goodbye playoffs, intend to play their big guns until the end of the regular season. Justin Verlander, who leads the ERA majors, will kick off one of the games next week against the Phillies.

Six games to play. The race is tight. But the Phillies are staying in the driver’s seat – even after they bombed deep in Chicago.

“Chicago stank,” Hoskins said. “It got on us. Look, we’re competitors, we care, we probably care too much sometimes. But in this game, you can’t dwell on things for too long. We had to dump it. We’re (ahead of Milwaukee). If we keep winning games, we’ll be where we want to be.”

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