CHICAGO — Remnants of Tropical Storm Ian could complicate things for the Philadelphia Phillies in the final days of the regular season as they attempt to hold on to the final wild-card spot in the NL despite a 3-9 record over their past 12 games heading into their series finale against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday afternoon.
Because of a rainy weekend weather forecast in Washington, DC, the Nationals and Phillies have moved a scheduled doubleheader from Saturday to a split affair on Friday. Ryan Feltner will start Game 1 in the afternoon, while Noah Syndergaard will get the ball for the Phillies in the nightcap.
« We’re in line to play a doubleheader tomorrow, then a single game Saturday and single game Sunday, » Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Thursday morning.
The original schedule called for a night game on Friday followed by a doubleheader on Saturday and a single game on Sunday, but the league is worried about the forecast on Saturday night and moved that game to Friday afternoon. There’s still a chance Saturday’s single game is postponed, meaning the Phillies and Nationals would play another doubleheader on Sunday.
Thomson is most worried about his pitching staff in the event of delays and doubleheaders.
« The old saying is it’s easy to lose doubleheaders, but it’s hard to sweep, » Thomson said.
The Phillies have been in position to secure a wild-card spot for months, but the Milwaukee Brewers are only a half-game behind them after winning on Wednesday night. Philadelphia, meanwhile, has dropped two games in a row to the Cubs, who are well below .500. Milwaukee plays the rest of its schedule at home against below-.500 teams, while the Phillies are on the road, first in Washington, then in Houston. The Astros have said they’ll play their starters despite locking up the top seed in the American League.
Thomson was asked about the vibe within the clubhouse as Milwaukee has closed the gap on the Phillies in the standings.
« We came in here today and turned the music on and they were laughing and giggling and doing their crossword like they always do, » Thomson answered. « I feel good about it. We’re still in the driver’s seat. You have to enjoy this. »
If the Phillies and Brewers finish the season with identical records, Philadelphia would win the tiebreaker based on winning its season series over Milwaukee.
Feltner and Syndergaard flew to Washington ahead of the team on Thursday morning, assuring them proper rest in case the team is delayed.