Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 5: Attempting to clinch a playoff spot with Cole Hamels on the mound.
The Phillies (89-68) will continue their three games series with the fourth place Braves (69-86) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (14-9, 3.10), who is coming off a win against these same Braves on September 18, where he went six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. Hamel will be trying for his fifteenth win of the year while trying to secure a playoff spot for the Phillies with a good outing tonight. The Braves’ starter will be Mike Hampton (2-3, 5.05), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies, also on September 18, as he would go seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, in the Braves’ 4-3 lost. This will be his third start this year against the Phillies, as he sports an 0-1 record, with a no-decision. He will be trying to hold off the Phillies going into the playoff for one more night.
The Phillies just need to continue to do what they have been doing during their last eleven games: hitting the ball, scoring runs early, scoring them often, getting clutch hits, having good starting pitching and getting good efforts from the bullpen, and using their gloves to stop opponents’ rallies. All aspects of the team’s game seems to be jelling at the same time, which is good, considering how long it took for all of them to come together in the first place. I’m getting that 1980 feeling folks. Too bad I’m not that same college sophmore going to the local Penn State campus near Media, PA, wondering if the Phillies can catch up with the division leading Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) before their final trip up to Montreal where they would win the Eastern Division in a wild final series. Hopefully, the Phillies won’t have to clinch the division against Montreal’s descendants, the Nationals, again. But, if they have to, the team has better just be ready to crush them but good.
The Phillies are now leading the Mets by two and a half games, as the Mets prepare to once again face the Cubs. The magic number to win the National League East is now set at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead over the Brewers is now at a game, as the Brewers prepare to play Pirates for three games, while their lead over the Astros is at three and a half games as they get ready to face the Reds for three. The Phillies will be trying to win tonight’s game to guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs, while trying to see if they can get Cole Hamels his fifteenth win of the season.