The Phillies never planned to sell, but you had to imagine it crossed their minds Thursday when they fell behind by seven runs in the second game of a doubleheader against the Nationals. A loss would have put the Phillies two games under .500 and four games out of first place.

But they rallied, won on a walk-off grand slam, and are now positioned to be buyers ahead of the 4 p.m. Friday deadline. How much buying will they do? Stay tuned.

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— Matt Breen (extrainnings@inquirer.com)

The rundown

A playoff drought and a winnable NL East could compel the .500 Phillies to buy at today’s trade deadline, Scott Lauber writes.

Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins left the Phillies’ comeback victory with minor injuries.

Brad Miller’s grand slam gave the Phillies an improbable 11-8 win and other observations from a doubleheader split.

Important dates

Today: MLB trade deadline, 4 p.m.

Tonight: Vince Velasquez starts the series opener at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Tomorrow: Aaron Nola starts vs. the Pirates, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday: Spencer Howard pitches the series finale, 1:05 p.m.

Monday: Phillies open a four-game series in D.C., 7:05 p.m.

Stat of the day

Fifteen years ago today, the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu to the Yankees along with Corey Lidle for C.J. Henry, Matt Smith, Jesus Sánchez, and Carlos Monasterios. Smith was the only player from the return who played for the Phillies.

It was a small return for Abreu, who was hitting .277 for the Phils with an .886 OPS. But for the Phils, it was about creating opportunities for younger players. At the deadline, general manager Pat Gillick moved David Bell, Abreu, and Lidle. Before the season, he traded Jim Thome, and after the season, he let Mike Lieberthal go via free agency.

“Most of the trades that I made were trades to give other players opportunities,” Gillick said at his Hall of Fame ceremony in 2011. “When Abreu left, that gave [Shane] Victorino an opportunity. When Thome left, that gave [Ryan] Howard a chance to play.”

“I think [it allowed] them to sort of come out of their shell,” Gillick said. “[Chase] Utley and Victorino and [Jimmy] Rollins to come out of their shell and bring a little bit more energy to the club. I think that got things moving in the right direction.”

From the mailbag

Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.

Question: I’m going to Pittsburgh this weekend with my kids for the Phillies. What should I do before the game? — Ed D. via email

Answer: Thanks, Ed. Ride the Duquesne Incline before Saturday’s game, take in the views at the top, and have lunch in Duquesne Heights before heading back down.

Also, try to get out to Oakland and see what’s left of Forbes Field. The outfield wall that Bill Mazeroski’s homer sailed over in 1960 is still standing, and home plate is in the lobby of Pitt’s library. Both are very cool to see.