If the Phillies’ 4-3 loss Thursday night wasn’t painful enough, it stung even more about an hour later when the Braves knocked off the Nationals in extra innings to gain another game over the Phillies in the NL East. The Phillies were a strike away from closing out a win over the Rockies before imploding. Meanwhile, the Braves kept exchanging body blows with the Nats before they knocked them out in the 10th.

It’s hard to imagine the Phillies chasing down the Braves this month, and it’s even harder to imagine the Braves allowing it to happen. The Phillies trail Atlanta by 3 1/2 games with 22 games remaining. They have a light remaining schedule, but time is running thin. They can’t afford losses like Thursday’s. And they really can’t afford them when Atlanta wins an hour later.

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— Matt Breen (extrainnings@inquirer.com)

The rundown

Ian Kennedy blew the save Thursday night, and Scott Lauber has some observations from one of the tougher losses of the season.

No Phillies player misses Rhys Hoskins more than Bryce Harper, who has seen fewer pitches to hit since Hoskins went to the injured list. Pitching around Harper might become a theme down the stretch.

The Phillies will have to find a replacement for Zach Eflin if he’s not ready for the start of the 2022 season. Here are some ways they can approach the offseason.

Harper deserves the National League MVP award as he carries the Phillies, Marcus Hayes writes.

Important dates

Tonight: Phillies face Rockies right-hander German Marquez, 7:05 p.m.

Tomorrow: Zack Wheeler starts vs. the Rockies, 6:05 p.m.

Sunday: Aaron Nola pitches the series finale, 1:05 p.m.

Monday: The Phillies are off.

Tuesday: Phillies open a three-game series vs. the Cubs, 7:05 p.m.

Stat of the day

Bryce Harper hit his 30th homer of the season Thursday, and 17 of them have either tied a game or given the Phillies a lead. The last lefty-hitting Phillies player to have more such homers in a season was Ryan Howard, who had 24 in 2009. Since the All-Star break, Harper has a 1.192 OPS with 34 extra-base hits in 51 games.

“We have a lot of guys who are struggling right now,” Girardi said after Thursday’s loss. “The one guy who has been consistent through all of this has been Harp.”

From the mailbag

Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.

Question: What’s the deal with Alec Bohm? When the Phillies sent him down last month, they said it would give him the chance to play every day and maybe recover his stroke. But I just scrolled through the Lehigh Valley box scores and, unless I missed something, he hasn’t played since August 29. He’s slashing .325/.452/.400, which is more than respectable, although he hasn’t shown much power (zero homers and two doubles in 31 plate appearances). — Doug B. via email

Answer: Thanks, Doug. Bohm got hit by a pitch in the left wrist on Aug. 29 and hasn’t played since. This is what Dave Dombrowski said about him Wednesday in Milwaukee. “He’s feeling better and they’re continuing to treat him conservatively with one of those things to keep your wrist, but he’s doing better. But I don’t have a time in which for sure he’s going to play. But he is doing better.”

The triple-A season doesn’t end until Oct. 3, so there’s time for Bohm to return.