For the first time since 2006, the Philadelphia Phillies will not play meaningful baseball in October.
That statement might have come as a shock to the senses before the season began, but writing it now feels like little more than a formality. Even as the Fightins were fightin' their way back into the Wild Card picture, there was never truly more than a reserved optimism about their playoff chances.
The reality was, and has been for a long time, that they were simply too far out of the race barring the equivalent of a miracle.
Cliff Lee pitched seven strong innings of one-run ball on Friday night, but as has been the case for him all year, run support was lacking. The Phils finally got on the board and knotted it up in the eighth when a Jimmy Rollins single scored John Mayberry. The Miami Marlins walked it off in the bottom of the ninth though on Carlos Lee's game-winning hit, sticking Josh Lindblom with the loss.
Details. All that matters is there is nothing left to play for in 2011.
Once No. 162 is in the books, we'll be able to properly eulogize this season. But in so many ways, this was just another night at the ballpark for the Phillies.
Which, of course, would be part of the problem.