Philadelphia Phillies: Today's Game vs. Atlanta Braves Means Everything

Alec SnyderContributor IIIJuly 28, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 27: Cole Hamels #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 27, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Last night, the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field by a score of 6-1. The resurgent Ben Sheets pitched a fantastic game, allowing only one run in six innings, striking out four and walking just one.

For the Phillies, Cole Hamels took the mound and was horrendous, allowing three earned runs (five total) but walking a career-high six batters. He did, however, strike out seven.

It was also nice to see Shane Victorino hit a double to score Jimmy Rollins in the first inning.

But after that, it was all downhill.

Now, the Phillies are down in the series by a game. If they lose today, they're done. Why?

Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. said the other day that the Phillies do need to win the series against the Braves this weekend. No sweep necessary, but a series win. With a loss today, the Phillies lose the series, further pushing them out of the division and wild-card races.

It's not like the Phillies are close to winning any division title. After playing their 100th game of the season last night, they're 45-55 and are 14.5 and 10.5 games out of first place in the NL East and for the second wild-card spot, respectively.

They need a huge turnaround to have any chance of a playoff appearance, yet there's no turnaround in sight.

With a loss today, it's not just another game of the season. It's the entire season on the line. Amaro, in the above interview, stated that with a series loss, they would likely pursue selling. That means that, even with Hamels extended, other players and fan favorites, like Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence and maybe even Cliff Lee (though Amaro has said that's basically off the table) could be gone in a matter of days, if not hours.

It'll be interesting to see how the Phillies play tonight against the Braves, as Joe Blanton faces off against southpaw rookie Mike Minor. Even if they win, it's no guarantee—they still have to win tomorrow's game to win the series in that event.

But if the Phillies lose today, it gives Amaro that much more time to explore any and all trade options. And ladies and gentlemen, there will be many of them to come.