Three games out of the Wild Card lead, the Phillies seemed like a team for destiny as they had what seemed to be a gift four-game series against arguably the worst team in baseball. The team went from exciting to watch because of the youngsters and aged veterans finally getting a chance to contenders. Perhaps winning was easy when they weren't expected to. Back in the spotlight, they may have shown they are not be able to handle it, given the 1-3 series in Houston . The Astros won as many games this weekend (three) as they did the entire month of July, and just one win shy of August (four).
The Phillies biggest weaknesses exposed this series: inability to hit left-handed pitching and an inexperienced bullpen. The offense also proved to fall flat once taking a lead.
Phillippe Aumont was a hot hand the Phillies rode through the seven-game winning streak, but he appears to have hit a wall. Or, he has been Phillippe Aumont. The scouting reports from the minor leagues all praised Aumont's "stuff" and noted that he had the ability to be lights out. However, Aumont had his days when he could not control anything. He had a couple of those days.
One who never took his foot off of the accelerator was shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Rollins had six hits in the series and stole four bases. One would think that the example Rollins was setting would help ignite the team. But, a lineup that includes either Michael Martinez or Kevin Frandsen with a stress fracture may just not be able to get it done.
Another effect of today's loss is that the Phillies are officially eliminated from contention for a National League East title. The streak is officially over at five.
The Wild Card is much more difficult now. The Phillies are four games out with 15 to play, no matter who wins the extra-inning Dodgers-Cardinals matchup. By my best calculation the Phillies are only able to lose two more games and have a chance at the playoffs. The Brewers are just too hot and showing no signs of slowing down. While the Dodgers, Pirates, and Cardinals all seem to have the ability to collapse, the question is, can the Phillies outplay the Milwaukee Brewers?