PHILADELPHIA - Nothing has come easy this year for the Philadelphia Phillies, who are trying to reach the postseason for the first time in over a decade.They started poorly, going 22-29 before manager Joe Girardi was fired.
New skipper Rob Thompson won his first eight games, but not long after that, Bryce Harper went down with a broken thumb. While he was out, the Phillies played well enough that they were in the National League's second wild-card spot when he returned late last month, but now they've dropped six of seven.Philadelphia hasn't made the playoffs since 2011, the second-longest drought in the majors.
The Phillies are overshadowed somewhat by Seattle, which is in good shape to make the postseason for the first time since 2001, but a playoff appearance would also be a key step for Philadelphia, now in its fourth season since signing Harper.After losing 5-3 to San Francisco on Sunday on a ninth-inning homer by Wilmer Flores, the Phillies are 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the final NL wild card.
They were swept three straight by the Giants after dropping two of three at Arizona.The schedule becomes pretty friendly now.