Merry Trade Deadline Eve. The Phillies lost a game Tuesday night, saw a trade fall through hours later, and then had a game postponed Wednesday night because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the Washington Nationals.

It’s been a busy two days at Citizens Bank Park, but the Phils still have not made a deal. They’ll play two on Thursday for their final games before Friday’s trade deadline. The Phillies are at .500 and four games out of first place. It’s a crucial doubleheader.

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— Matt Breen (extrainnings@inquirer.com)

The rundown

Zach Eflin remains on the injured list with a knee injury and said he doesn’t know if there’s a timetable for his return. Scott Lauber writes how this impacts the team’s pursuit this week of starting pitching.

More details here on Wednesday’s game being postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the Washington clubhouse.

The Phillies thought they traded for a starting pitcher Tuesday before the deal fell through and the Pirates sent Tyler Anderson to Seattle.

Matt Moore’s rough night Tuesday showed the Phillies that they need more than one new starting pitcher.

Important dates

Today: Phillies play a doubleheader vs. the Nationals, 12:05 p.m.

Tomorrow: MLB trade deadline, 4 p.m.

Friday night: Aaron Nola opens three-game series in Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.

Saturday: Spencer Howard starts Game 2, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday: Phillies and Pirates play series finale at PNC Park, 1:05 p.m.

Stat of the day

Today will be the 12th seven-inning doubleheader the Phillies have played since Major League Baseball introduced the concept last season. The Phillies are 7-15 in those games and have swept just one of the 12 doubleheaders. The seven-inning doubleheaders have not been kind to the Phillies, who should be happy to know that they are likely going away in 2022.

Tickets from Wednesday’s postponed game will not be valid Thursday, but Thursday tickets will be good for both seven-inning games. Ticket holders from Wednesday will receive a credit toward another game this season, the Phillies said.

From the mailbag

Send questions by email or on Twitter @matt_breen.

Question: Why is Bryce Harper using Kris Bryant’s bat? — Rob B. via email

Answer: Thanks, Rob. Harper changes his bat a lot through the season. His bat maker described him as “a feel guy.”

“There’s plenty of times where he may pick up something different that day, and it just feels better for one reason or the other,” Victus Sports’ Jared Smith said about Harper in 2019.

Harper said he’s been using Bryant’s model for three weeks, which coincides with his best stretch of the season. It probably just feels right for him. Harper’s model bat from Victus has the same size barrel that Chase Utley used and the same handle as Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki’s bat. You can read more about Victus and Harper here.