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Via most publications, the Philadelphia Phillies are projected to make the playoffs about 50% of the time. PECOTA believes the Phillies have a 64.2% chance, Baseball-Reference projects a 31.4% chance.

The variability on this team is wide. They clearly have a talented roster and are recognized for it. No team with a worse record is as likely to make the playoffs according to Fangraphs or Baseball-Reference.

But Philadelphia still languishes with a sub .500 record well into May. There is precedent for a Phillies team starting slow but heating up into summer before making the playoffs.

The 2007 Phillies began their season 14-19 after 33 games, the 2022 Phillies current mark. Even by July 19 they were 47-48, with manager Charlie Manuel on the hot seat after two underachieving seasons.

The similarities between 2007 and 2022 go beyond their records. They're both teams that rely on heavy hitting. The 2007 squad scored the National League's most runs, had the highest OBP, SLG, and OPS. 

The 2022 club currently stands second in the NL in runs, but leads the pack in SLG and OPS.

The pitching on both teams is similar too, but the 2022 Phillies have a slight edge in that department, their ERA and ERA+: 4.11 and 98. The 2007 team had an ERA and ERA+ of 4.73 and 97 respectively.

Similarities can be thrown around ad nauseam, but they won't get the Phillies into the playoffs, only scoring more runs than their opponent will do that. And even though the Phillies have lost more games than they've won, they've scored far more frequently than their opposition.

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Only eight teams in MLB have a better run differential than the Phillies, all of whom but the Los Angeles Angels and the New York Mets made the postseason in 2021.

Run differential is often a better indicator of team talent than their record is early into the season. While many teams lose games due to bad luck, their run differential will stay consistent and is a benchmark for how a team will play down the stretch. 

Though the Phillies' offense is arguably the best in the NL and the starting rotation is more than competent, the Phillies bullpen, like it has in years past, will hold them back.

A bad bullpen is often the culprit for teams that fail to perform to their run differential, the Phillies are not an exception to that. After Sunday's loss, the Phillies are 2-6 in one-run games.

Only Corey Knebel and Seranthony Domínguez have shown themselves to be reliable early on in the season. Even though Knebel blew the save on Sunday, both his advanced stats and standard stats show that he's made to pitch late-innings, the same is true of Domínguez.

But without a third reliever to be relied upon in late innings, the Phillies will continue to blow close games. That is not something even the best offenses in baseball can make up for.

Jeurys Familia, Jose Alvarado, and Brad Hand cannot be relied upon. They may hold the Phillies back from the postseason, and unless Phillies president Dave Dombrowski acquires more relief help at the deadline, there is no chance the Phillies could make a deep postseason run.

Philadelphia can be contenders for the World Series if everything falls their way and Dombrowski adds relief help, but as it stands now, the only thing blocking the Phillies' path to the postseason is themselves.

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  3. Phillies Top-10 Prospects Heading Into the 2022 MLB Season
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  10. Why Did the Phillies Forget About These Top Prospects?

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