Officially the Phillies weren’t charged with an error. In truth, they left nearly a half-dozen makeable plays unmade. Velasquez also loosed a wild pitch that enabled Freeman to move from second to third, whereupon he scored the tying run in the third on Johan Camargo’s sacrifice fly.
For the Phillies, this was utterly in character. They rank next-to-last in the majors with 111 errors. They rank next-to-last in Ultimate Zone Rating. They rank last in Defensive Runs Saved. Given that they're also 12th in the National League in batting average and 10th in runs, it's a wonder they're above .500 – and there's still a chance they might finish 81-81 or thereabouts.
The Braves haven’t been great in September, but the teams allegedly chasing them have been worse. The Phillies are 6-12. (They’re 10-20 since Aug. 17.) Washington, which saw its elimination number pared to two in a 12-inning loss to the Mets last night, is 10-8 and is 77-76 on the season.
The Braves will win the East – their magic number is four with nine games remaining – because they’ve been much the best team in the East. Their competitors, however, could never be confused with those of the epic Septembers of ’91 and ’93. (We stipulate that there were no wild cards back then, not that anybody in the East is positioned to grab a wild card this time.) The Dodgers of Lasorda and the Giants of Bonds were most worthy foes.
We around here – and folks in Philly, too, once they get past their late-season disappointment – will recall this as the year two rebuilding clubs got better sooner than expected. Those in D.C. will forever wonder how the Nationals, with Scherzer and Strasburg and Harper and Rendon and Turner and Zimmerman and Eaton and now Soto, never made a run. That left the door ajar. The Phillies weren’t yet good enough to barge through it. The Braves were and have.