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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 27: Bryce Harper #3 of the Philadelphia Phillies is tagged out by Esteban Quiroz #43 of the Chicago Cubs during a force out in the ninth inning at Wrigley Field on September 27, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

The Phillies are scuffling badly. They are on the verge of blowing their playoff spot. And to get the scoop on why it is happening, and if the Phillies can fix it, we talked to Jayson Stark. Here is what Jayson had to say…

On The Phillies Struggling to hold onto their playoff spot

“They should have had this thing wrapped up already. All they had to do, is to do what they are built to do. Which is score runs. But that hasn’t been happening. It Didn’t happen last night. In the 8 losses, they have scored 3 runs or fewer in 6 of them. The other two were pitching meltdowns. Here is the way I look at this. I honestly don’t think it’s a reflection of their character or toughness like it was with some of these previous teams. I think it is a reflection of how hard it is to win.

This season has taken its toll on this team. On that bullpen in a big way. And on that offense. I know Harper has looked better, but he really hasn’t looked like himself since that first game in Lehigh Valley. The Kyle Schwarber of August and September is not the same as the Schwarber of June and July. And Nick Castellanos has been m.i.a for a month. The lineup that they ran out last night is probably their ideal lineup. That’s the first game that group has played together all season. It is a lineup that is built to hit. So it is time to hit.”

On how Rob Thomson is Handling the Bullpen

“My read is for a while now I get a vibe they are handling their injuries like a team that doesn’t expect to get caught by the Brewers. So they are going out of their way to get everybody extra time. But in this particular case, I think it’s telling me something more important. It’s making me wonder how healthy Eflin and SerAnthony really are. And that matters. This schedule from here on out is grueling. Have you looked at the postseason schedule? It doesn’t have the usual array of days off. If they are going to win a series, Seranthony in particular is going to have to pitch three days in a row at some point. Is he physically capable of that?

I think that Rob is determined not to overwork anybody. But I do think if they erase their margin of error, or are in a playoff series, he won’t manage like that. But the other part of it is, how many guys in that bullpen, have earned any level of trust lately? Alvarado has. But anyone after him?”

Listen to the full interview with Jayson Stark below…