The Philadelphia Phillies entered Saturday just 1 ½ games behind the Atlanta Braves in the race for the National League East crown. Unfortunately for the Phillies, they'll have to play catch-up without one of their key relievers.
The Phillies placed Archie Bradley on the injured list on Saturday because of an oblique injury. In a corresponding move, the Phillies brought up left-handed rookie Kyle Dohy. (The Phillies also transferred left-hander Matt Moore to the 60-day IL.)
Bradley, 29, joined the Phillies on a one-year contract over the offseason after being non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds. In 53 appearances this year, he compiled a 3.71 ERA (113 ERA+) and a 1.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio. This is the second time this year he's required a stay on the shelf because of his oblique. He previously missed five weeks earlier in the season.
Bradley has, for the most part, been the Phillies' eighth-inning arm this season. As a unit, the Phillies bullpen ranks 24th in the majors in ERA -- or the lowest of any team who remains in serious playoff contention. The Phillies also rank 25th in "meltdowns," a FanGraphs win-probability-based measure that attempts to assign credit or blame to bullpens for the game's result.
Bradley's loss, then, is no small matter for the Phillies or their competitive aspirations. Manager Joe Girardi will have to resort to leaning more on veterans like Ian Kennedy, José Alvarado, and Héctor Neris. Connor Brogdon, third on the Phillies in appearances this season, is currently on the injured list as well because of a strained groin.
The Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates continued their series on Saturday afternoon while the Braves played their third game in two days against the San Diego Padres. Provided the Phillies remain within striking distance, they'll have the opportunity to match or overtake the Braves in a matter of days. Beginning on Tuesday, the two sides will meet for a three-game series that could well determine who makes it to October and who begins the offseason next Sunday evening.