It was not a fun weekend to be a Philadelphia Phillies fan. After winning their past 3 series, the Phils headed into Atlanta, Georgia to take on the still red hot Braves at Truist Park for a 3 game set that could end up being a preview of a first round playoff matchup in a couple weeks. Emphasis on COULD. All that happened in Atlanta was a controlling 3 game sweep by the Braves with scores of 7-2, 4-3, and 5-2. It was disheartening for a team and a fan base that are each looking forward to the first playoff appearance in over a decade, and while it’s not a death blow, it makes this week’s worth of games incredibly important for the hunt for a Red October. Not only did the Phillies struggle in Atlanta, but the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres are drawing closer and closer in the NL Wild Card race. The Phillies need some breathing room, and they need it badly. To make matters worse, the schedule is doing Philadelphia no favors.

Currently, the Phillies are a half game back of the Padres, who took over the 2nd wild card spot this weekend, and hold a slim 2.0 game lead over the Brewers for the final playoff spot in the National League. It’s a tight margin, and when you look at this week’s matchups for each team, it could get even tighter. Here’s how the schedule looks for each of the 3:

The Phillies have a Monday off day, then play 2 home games against the 83-64 Toronto Blue Jays, and round out their week with 4 at home against the 91-55 Braves. In short, that doesn’t look fun. The Padres play 3 games starting Tuesday against the 87-61 Cardinals, and then 3 vs. the 64-82 Rockies. That’s an easier stretch than the Phils for sure. The Brewers schedule might end up being even easier. They do have 3 tough games at home with the Mets (93-55), but then have 4 contests in Cincinnati against the terrible 58-89 Reds. It’s not an ideal setup with only 5 series left to play.

I do still think the Phillies get in, and having the tie breaker over both Milwaukee and San Diego could prove huge when everything is said and done, but this is a very difficult week for the Fightins. There are 16 games remaining, and we are officially in the territory of every game feeling like a playoff game. We’ve been here before as Phillies fans over the past 10 years, and I understand the very valid concern from the fan base. For better or for worse, we will have a much better idea of what the future holds for the 2022 Phillies when this week’s games are over.