Results tagged ‘ Pennant Race ’

Countdown to the Playoffs, 21 games to go: The Phils begin their next to last road trip with their last three-game visit to New York to meet the Mets.

With twenty-one games left in the season, and with a one game lead over the Braves in the East, and at the moment owning the best record in the National League. the Phils start their next to last road trip of the season with a three-game visit with the Mets at Citi Field, with the first game of the series starting tonight at 7:10 pm Eastern time. The Phils are at the moment 6-6 with the Mets in their eighteen game season series, but they have won four of their last six games against their Eastern Division rival.

In the series opener, the Phils (81-60, 1st) will send to the mound their ace and NL Cy Young Award candidate Roy Halladay (17-10, 2.36), who is coming off a win against the Brewers on September 5, as he pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out six, in the Phils’ 5-4 win. In his last three starts, his record is 1-2, as he has pitched twenty-one innings, giving up ten runs on twenty-three hits and three walks, while he has struck out sixteen. Against the Mets this year, his record is 3-0, as he has pitched twenty-four innings, including a complete game, giving up only five runs on sixteen hits and just two walks, while striking out twenty-three. He will be going for his fourth win against the Mets and his eighteen win overall, while hoping that the bats will continue to give him some runs support. The Mets (69-71, 4th) will counter with Jenrry Mejia (0-3, 3.86), who is coming off a lost against the Cubs on September 4, as he pitched just five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out only two, in the Mets’ 5-3 lost. In his last three appearances on the mound, his record is 0-1, as he pitched six innings plus two batters, as he gave up five runs on eight hits and four walks, while striking out three. He will be trying to pitch a good game against Doc, while hoping that the Mets will finally be able to defeat him in 2010. The Phils will be trying to start off the road trip on a good note, while hoping to increase their lead over the Braves, as they continue their four-games series with the Cardinals.

The Phils split a doubleheader with the Marlins, losing game one 7-1 before winning the night cap, 7-4, as they cut the Braves’ lead in the East to a half game.

The Phils split a doubleheader with the Marlins, losing the afternoon game, 7-1, before roaring back to win the second game, 7-4, as they cut the Braves’ lead in the NL East to a half game.

In the afternoon game, the Marlins took the lead in the first as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Dan Uggla hits an RBI single, knocking in Logan Morrison, who had earlier walked, and then went to second on Vance Worley’s wild pitch, giving the Marlins a 1-0 lead, while Uggla would reach third on Brian Schneider’s throwing error, when he tried to throw Uggla out at second when he tried to advance on Raul Ibanez’s throw to the plate. The Marlins made it a 2-0 lead in the second as Chad Tracy hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the season. The Marlins would then break the game open in the eighth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Mike Stanton hits a two-run home run, his sixteenth home run of the year, knocking in Uggla, who had earlier doubled, making it a 4-0 lead. The Marlins would increase their lead in the ninth as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Wes Helm, a single by Emilio Bonifacio, with Helm stopping at second base, and Hanley Ramirez being hit by the pitch, with both runners moving up a base, and with one man out, Uggla hits a two-run double, scoring both Helm and Bonifacio, giving the Marlins a 6-0 lead, while Ramirez would stop at third. Three batters later, after pinch hitter Cameron Maybin is hit by the pitch, and is then pinch run for by Scott Cousins, and now with two men out, Stanton hits an RBI infield single, scoring Ramirez, making it a 7-0 Marlins’ lead, while moving Uggla to third and Cousins to second. The Phils would finally get on the scoreboard in the ninth as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Jayson Werth hits an RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who had just doubled, making it 7-1 Marlins’ lead. That would be the final score, though, as Rollins grounds out to end the game, 1-3.

Vance Worley gets the lost as he pitches five innings, giving up two runs on six hits, a walk and a wild pitch, while striking out five. His record is now 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA. David Herndon and Antonio Bastardo pitches one and two-thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up two hits (Herndon) between them. Chad Durbin pitches an inning and a third, giving up two runs on two hits, while striking out three. Mike Zagurski pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs on two hits, a walk and two hit batters, while striking out one. Nate Robertson pitches a third of an inning, giving up a hit. Adalberto Mendez gets the win as he pitches six innings, before leaving the game with an injury in the seventh, giving up just one hit and two walks, while striking out six. His record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Will Ohman records his seventeenth hold of the year as he pitches a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Jose Veras also records a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. Jose Ceda pitches to three batters, giving up a run on two hits and a walk. Clay Hensley pitches a 1-2-3 inning.

The Phils had only three hits in the game, a single by Brian Schneider, a double by Ryan Howard and an RBI single by Jayson Werth. The Phils’ bats were unable to do anything otherwise.

In the nightcap, the Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the second as, with two men out, Stanton hits a solo home run, his seventeenth home run of the year. The Phils’ offense then struck back in their half of the second as, with the bases loaded, via singles by Rollins and Ibanez and a walk by Dom Brown, moving both Rollins and Ibanez up a base, and with nobody out, the Phils would tie the score at one-all as Carlos Ruiz walk, forcing in Rollins, while moving Ibanez to third base and Brown to second. Two batters later, the Phils took a 2-1 lead as Shane Victorino hits an RBI single, knocking in Ibanez, before Brown, who was trying to score, is gunned down by Stanton, 9-2, for the inning’s second out, while Ruiz, who had reached second on Victorino’s hit, would go to third on the throw to the plate. After Victorino steals second base to put runners on second and third, and with two men out, Placido Polanco hits a ground-rule double, thanks to a fan touching the ball as it went towards the third base seats, scoring both Ruiz and Victorino, to give the Phils a 4-2 lead. The Phils then took a 5-1 lead as Chase Utley hits an RBI single, scoring Polanco, before moving up to second on the throw to the plate. The Marlins got two runs back in the third as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Ramirez hits a two-run home run, his twenty-first home run of the year, knocking in Morrison, who had just walked, making it a 5-3 Phils’ lead. The Marlins then cut the lead to 5-4 in the fifth as, with two men out, Maybin hits a solo home run, his eighth home run of the year. The Phils would get the run back in their half of the fifth as, with a runner on third, and with nobody out, Utley hits an RBI single, scoring Polanco, who had earlier tripled, making it a 6-4 Phils’ lead. Three batters later, with two men on, and with one man out, Ibanez hits an RBI double, scoring Utley, who had moved up to second base on an Anibal Sanchez wild pitch, giving the Phils a 7-4 lead, while sending Howard, who had earlier walked, on to third base. That would be the final score as the Phils would keep the Marlins’ bats quiet for the final four innings, with Brad Lidge collecting his twenty-first save as he strikes out Cousins swinging for the final out.

Roy Oswalt gets the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out seven. His record is now 11-13 (5-1) with a 3.09 (2.30) ERA. J.C. Romero pitches to one batter, walking him. Ryan Madson collects his eleventh hold of the year as he pitches a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Brad Lidge collects his twenty-first save of the season as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out two. Anibal Sanchez took the lost as he pitches only four innings plus three batters, giving up seven runs on seven hits and three walks, while he strikes out two. His record is now 11-9 with a 3.45 ERA. Jorge Sosa and Jay Buente combine for four scoreless innings, giving up three hits (Sosa (2), Buente (1)) and walking two (one each), while striking out three (Sosa (2), Buente (1)) between them.

The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Shane Victorino leading the team with three hits, all singles, as he knocks in a run. He is followed by Placido Polanco, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez who all had two hits each, with Polanco’s hits being a double and a triple, knocking in two runs, Utley’s hits being two singles, knocking in two runs and Ibanez’s hits being a single and a double, knocking in a run. Jimmy Rollins had the other Phil hit, a single. Carlos Ruiz had the other Phil RBI, on a bases loaded walk. The Phils’ offense came out to score some runs for Oswalt.

The Phils (79-60, 2nd) will continue their four-game series with the Marlins (70-67, 3rd) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and it will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (6-6, 5.25), who is coming off a no-decision against the Rockies on September 1, as he pitched just four and a third innings, giving up six runs, four of which were earned, on ten hits and two walks, while striking out three, in the Phils’ 12-11 win. In his last three starts, his record is 1-0 with two no-decisions, as he pitched seventeen and a third innings, giving up eight runs, six of which were earned, on twenty-two hits and three walks, while striking out fifteen. He will be trying to get his seventh win of the year, while also putting his win-loss record on the positive side for the first time this season. The Marlins will counter with Chris Volstad (9-9, 4.82), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on September 1, as he pitched five innings, giving up six runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Marlins’ 16-10 win. In his last three starts, his record is 3-0, as he pitched nineteen innings, giving up nine runs on twenty hits and four walks, while striking out thirteen. He will be trying for his fourth straight win. The Phils will be out to take the lead from the Braves, if they lose again to the Pirates.

Philadelphia Phillies – Years 1-6: Addenum.

You will not believe what I’d find on the internet last night. I’d found three sites that might be of interest to people, especially those who are reading my year-by-year look at the Phillies’ history.

First, I’d discovered that the Phillies had suffered a second no-hitter during their first six seasons in the National League which I did not know about until yesterday afternoon. On October 1, 1884, Charlie Getzien of the Detroit Wolverines pitched a six innings no-hitter against the Phils, defeating them 1-0.

Second, late last night, while I was looking at several baseball related websites, which included a couple of museums, one dedicated to Ty Cobb, and the other to Babe Ruth, I’d accidently stumble upon http://www.retrosheet.org/ which is an on-line website that, among other things, contains the day-by-day standings of every major league baseball season going back to 1871 and the National Association. That was the one thing that has been missing from my year-by-year look at the Phillies, to see how the team was doing in the daily standings during each National League season. Anyway, I am not going to go back to the previous six seasons. Instead, I will instead post a link to the first game that the Phillies’ played during the years 1883-1888 and let those of you who might be interested to follow the development of the pennant races for those six seasons.

1883: http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1883/05011883.htm

1884: http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1884/05011884.htm

1885: http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1885/05021885.htm

1886: http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1886/04291886.htm

1887: http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1887/04281887.htm

1888: http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1888/04201888.htm

I plan to start posting how the Phillies were doing daily in the standings starting with the 1889 season.

Lastly, I was lead, via retrosheet, to another website http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/, which, as its front page says “…is dedicated to the better use and communication of baseball statistics.” It is the home to Historical Baseball Graphs http://www.baseballgraphs.com/main/index.php/site/histindex/ which gives a year-to-year graph for every National and American League season since 1901. For example, say you want to see the graph for the 1914 season, the year of the Miracle Braves. You would first go to section that reads, League Graphs by Year, which is on your left, then you would go to the National League Graphs, then press on it. It will give you several listings that covers several 10 years period. You would then go to the 1910′s listing and press on it. This will give you the listing for each individual year, starting with 1910. Since the year you want is 1914, you will now press on the listing for that season. This will give up several graphs to your left, as well as several listings to your right. The most interesting of these listings are first a Pennant Race graph which, in graphic form, shows you how each team in both leagues did during the regular season, including showing you how the Braves went from being in last place on the 4th of July to winning the pennant in the NL graph, as well as showing you how the Athletics broke away from the rest of the AL that same season. But the more interesting one is the one just under it which says The Pennant in Action. This one is an animated program which shows you how the pennant race developed that season in both leagues, from opening day, to the end, showing you, among other things, how each team did, their day by day position in the race, and, towards the end, when each team was eliminated from the race until the Braves secured the pennant. For best result, I would suggest pushing speed back to one, and doing the same with smooth.

I am enclosing a link to the animated 1914 pennant race so that you can watch it for yourself:  http://www.baseballrace.com/races/MLB-1914-NL-Normal.asp . When I get to the 1901 season, I will be adding a link to both the graph and the animation for that year into my history.

Anyway, I hope you folks will enjoy the graphs and the animation while I prepare to work on the 1889 Phillies season with the addition of the standings from retrosheet.

Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com, Retrosheet.org, Baseballgraphs.com. Baseballrace.com

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 3: Making the final push to either win the Eastern Division or the Wild Card, with the Magic Number at 3 in both.

The Phillies (89-70) will play their last three games series of the regular season as they get ready to host the last place Nationals (59-99) who will be trying to act as spoiler while trying to avoid both losing 100 games and having the worst record in the majors. The first game of the three games series will be play tonight, weather permitting, at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (8-12 (3-0), 4.79), who is coming off a win against the Marlins on September 20, where he pitched five innings, giving up only two earned runs on only four hits and striking out nine while walking just two, in the Phillies’ 3-2 win. Blanton has won two of his last three starts while holding his own in his other start which the Phillies won. In his two previous starts against Washington, he has two no-decisions, while the Phillies’ record is 1-1 in those starts, as he would go a combine total of nine innings, giving up eight earned runs on fifteen hits. He will be trying for his second straight win and pitching a little better against the Nats, while trying to help the Phillies get a little bit closer to winning the pennant. The Nationals will counter with Collin Balester (3-6, 4.83), who is coming off a no-decision against the Padres on September 19, where he went five innings, giving up five earned runs on nine hits, in the Nationals’ 11-6 lost. In his previous two starts against the Phillies, he is 0-2, going a combined total of twelve innings, giving up five earned runs on thirteen hits. He will be trying to improve his season record and hoping to help spoil the Phillies’ run towards the playoffs.

The Phillies’ offense has gone calm in its last two games, while the team overall has committed several base running and fielding blunders that would help them lost their last series with the Braves. Charlie Manuel obviously did not like what he saw as he has after Wednesday night’s game ordered a team meeting for today, which is to start at 3:15 pm, just over an hour from now. Hopefully he will adress the problems that he had saw in those two games and get these guys to thinking that they need to start acting like they did when they won 10 of 11 games, and thereby take care of business with the Nationals if they want to get into the playoffs. The best advice he could give the batters is to act patiently while going against Nationals pitching, especially since they won’t have to worry about batting against Phillies’ killer Tim Redding.

The Phillies are presently leading the Mets in the Easten Division by a game as they defeated the Cubs. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets and Brewers are tied for the lead, both a game behind the Phillies, as the Brewers defeated the Pirates. As the Phillies plan to play the Nationals, the Mets will be facing the Marlins for three, the last games to be played in Shea Stadium, while the Brewers will be playing the Cubs for three in Miller Park. Both the Phillies-Nationals and Mets-Marlins series are threaten by the weather as rain is expected to covered both cities both today and most of tomorrow. This is going to be one very interesting weekend as three teams fight it out for the last two playoff spots in the National League, the Eastern Division flag and the Wild Card. The Phillies are in the driver seat leading in both, but they have a tendency to make things more interesting than they should. Three teams, two spots. Which one will be the odd man out? I don’t know, but I’m praying like crazy it won’t be our Phils. GO PHILLIES!!!!!!

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 5: Phillies lose tough one to the Braves as their lead in the East shrinks to a game and a half.

A throwing error by Cole Hamels, the lack of a clutch hit with the bases loaded and a base running error in the sixth would all lead to a hard lose as the Phillies lose a close one to the Braves, 3-2. The Mets’ win against the Cubs cuts the Phils lead in the East down to a game and a half and leaves the magic number for winning the East at four while a Brewers’ win leave the playoff magic number at one.

The Braves took the lead in the first as, with a runner on second and one out, Kelly Johnson would hit a RBI single, scoring Martin Prado, who has earlier singled, giving the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would tie up the game in the second as, with a runner on third and two outs, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled, went to second on Pat Burrell’s walk and would go to third on Shane Victorino’s 4-6-3 double play ball, which wiped out Burrell at second. The Braves would retake the lead in the third as, with runners on first and second and two out, Coel Hamels would have Johnson, who has gotten on base earlier with a single and then would move to second on Omar Infante’s single, picked off as Johnson was trying to steal third. But, Hamels’ throw to Feliz at third would go behind the third baseman and into left field, allowing Johnson to score and make it 2-1 Braves. The Phillies would threaten to even the score in their half of the third as they loaded up the bases with a double (Chase Utley), a throwing error by Johnson (Jayson Werth) and a walk (Howard), with two men out. But Braves’ starter Mike Hampton would end the threat by getting Burrell to pop out to the third baseman. The Braves would increase their lead in the sixth, as, with two outs, Casey Kotchman would hit a solo home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, making it 3-1 Braves. The Phillies would get a run base in their half of the sixth, as, with a runner on third and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI double, scoring Howard, who has earlier tripled, to make it a 3-2 Braves’ lead. Then Burrell would make a crucial base running blunder as, when Shane Victorino hit a hard ground to Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge, instead of going back to second, as he should’ve done, he would be caught off second and then be run down before finally being tagged out by Johnson, with the play going 6-5-4, with Victorino being safe at first on the fielder’s choice. Later, with Feliz batting, Victorino would try to steal second. He would be thrown out by Braves’ catcher Brian McCann for the inning’s second out as Johnson supplies the tag. Feliz would then end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Burrell base running blunder would seems to take the wind out of the Phillies’ sails for the rest of the night as they would be unable to mount another threat as the game ended up being a win for the Braves.

Cole Hamels would take the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits, as he struck out seven. His record is now 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09. Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up no hits between them, while striking out one (Romero). Mike Hampton would get the win as he pitches six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. His record is now even at 3-3 with a 4.88 ERA. Will Ohman and Jeff Bennett would each pitch a scoreless inning, with both man giving up no hits while Bennett would walk a batter. Mike Gonzalez would record his fourteenth save of the year as he pitches a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits as he walked a batter and struck out one.

The Phillies would get done in by the kind of mistakes that they have been avoiding lately, namely a throwing error by Cole Hamels when he had Kelly Johnson dead to rights when Johnson was trying to steal third, being unable to get the clutch hit when they needed it after they had loaded up the bases and Pat Burrell’s base running blunder with no one out. With Hamels’ errant throw, even with his throwing behind Pedro Feliz, if the throw has gone into Feliz’s glove, and Johnson has been safe at third, the Braves would have been turned back as Hamels then struck out Casey Kotchman to end the inning, keeping the game tied at 1-1. This might have been the turning point of the game, as the Phillies, in the later half of the inning, would mount a bases loaded threat that would be turned back because of a pop up into foul territory by Pat Burrell that was caught by Braves’ third baseman Martin Prado. But what really killed the Phillies was Burrell’s later base running blunder in the sixth. With the play in front of him, he should’ve went back to second when Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge caught Shane Victorino’s hard ground ball. Instead, he allowed himself to get trapped between second and third, and then compounded things by not staying in the base paths long enough to allow Victornio to get to second base. An added insult would be Braves’ catcher Brian McCann throwing out Victorino when Victorino tried to steal second. Hopefully the Phillies will be able to bounce back from the lost and win tonight’s game with the Braves.

The Phillies (89-69) will play the final game of their three games home stand with the Braves (70-88) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (10-12, 4.46), who is coming off his worst outing since his return from the minors, as he lost to the Marlins on September 20, where he only went four innings plus five batters, giving up ten earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 14-8 lost. Myers should be able to come back from that start, like his did in his previous start against the Brewers on September 14, where he pitched a complete game shut out, after his lost to the Marlins on September 10. The lost makes Myers 7-3 since his return. He will be trying for his eleventh win overall while getting the Phillies a bit closer to the playoff with four games left to play. The Braves will oppose him with Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11, 5.74), who is coming off a recent no-decision against the Mets on September 19, where he only lasted three and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 9-5 lost. Against the Phillies this year, he has appeared in three games, two of them starts, where his record is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA, hoping that he won’t get bombed again by the Phillies’ bats as he starts against them.

The lost would cut the Phillies’ lead over the Mets down to a game and a half as the Mets defeated the Cubs. The magic number for the Division crown is still at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead is still a game over the Brewers as they defeated the Pirates, while their lead over the Astros is now four and a half as they lost to the Reds. The Phillies will be trying to recover from last night’s lost, hoping for another good outing from Myers while hoping to once again sting Reyes and send the Braves packing with another lost.

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.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 6: Coming home to take care of business.

The Phillies (86-68) are back in Philadelphia to start their final home stand of the regular season, first playing three games with the fourth place Braves (69-87). The first game of the three games series will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be rookie J.A. Happ (1-0, 4.24), who is coming off a victory against these same Braves on September 17, as he pitched six shut out innings, giving up only three hits, in the Phillies’ 6-1 win. In his previous three starts, his ERA is 2.12. He will be trying for his second major league win, while trying to get the Phillies even closer to reentering the playoffs. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (13-10, 3.72), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies on September 17, as he went five innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits, in the Braves’ 6-1 lost. He will be trying to improve on his last start, while trying to slow down the Phillies’ charge towards the playoffs.

As in Happ’s previous start on the 17th, the Phillies’ offense will need to get to Jair Jurrjens as early as possible to give Happ some early runs support so that he won’t put any unnecessary pressure upon himself, and just concentrate upon throwing strikes at the Braves’ offense. If the Phillies are able to do to Jair tonight what they did to him in the first inning of last Wednesday’s ballgame, they shouldn’t have any trouble winning tonight behind Happ. 

Te Phillies lead over the Mets is now a game and a half as the Mets start a four games series at home against the Cubs. In the Wild Card race, the Mets now lead the Brewers by one and a half games as the Brewers take the day off. The Mets now lead the Astros by four games as they also take the day off. The Phillies will be home trying to clinch a spot in the playoffs before going after either the Eastern Division flag or the Wild Card spot.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 7: Behind solid pitching from Jamie Moyer and the bullpen and a pair of 2-run home runs from Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz, the Phillies sink the Marlins, 5-2. Phillies’ lead goes up to 1 and 1/2 games in the East.

Thanks to good pitching from Jamie Moyer and the bullpen and a pair of two-run home runs from Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz, the Phillies have finally sank the Marlins hopes for a playoff spot as they defeated the fish, 5-2. They increased their lead to a game and a half in the Eastern Division as the Mets’ lost to the Braves thanks to their bullpen emploding once again. The Phillies would take the lead in the third when, with a runner on second and no one out, Chase Utley would hit a two-run home run, his thirty-second home run of the year, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier doubled, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Phils would add to their lead in the fourth as, with runners on first and third and two men outs, Rollins would hit a RBI single, scoring Carlos Ruiz who has earlier singled and would reached third on Marlins’ right fielder’s Cody Ross fielding error on Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer’s fly ball, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead, while Moyer would move up to second on Rollins’ single. Marlins’ starter Chris Volstad would then hit Chase Utley with the pitch to load the bases as Moyer and Rollins would both move up a base. Volstad would then get out of the inning by getting Jayson Werth to hit into a force out, as Marlins’s third baseman Jorge Cantu would touch third base before Rollins. The Marlins would then try to score a run in the fifth. After Moyer gets out the first two Marlins’ batters, he would give up a two-out double to John Baker. The next batter, Cantu, would reach base on a fielding error by Ryan Howard on a ball that Howard would be unable to handle, while Baker would move over to third on the play. Mike Jacobs would then hit a ground ball to Howard that would first hit Howard’s glove and then possibly his face, but Howard would still be able to throw Jacobs out at first, with Moyer covering the bag, as Jacobs did not immediately run out of the box, since he’d thought that Ryan has actually caught the ball, ending the threat. The Marlins would then cut the lead in the sixth as, with a runner on second and two outs, Alfredo Amezaga would hit a RBI single, scoring Josh Willingham, who has earlier doubled, making it a 3-1 Phillies’ lead. The Marlins would then make the score even closer in the seventh, as, with the bases loaded, thanks to a double (Baker/given up by Chad Durbin), a single (Cantu/also by Durbin) and a walk (Dan Uggla/by J.C. Romero), and two men out, Willingham would hit a sharp ground ball down the third base line that would be stopped by third baseman Greg Dobbs, who would then be unable to make the play, as Baker scores, making it 3-2 Phils, while the bases would remain loaded as Willingham would be credited with a single as Cantu and Uggla would both move up a base. Dobbs’ play would save at least a second run from scoring as Clay Condrey would come in in place of Romero and would get Ross to hit into a force play to third baseman Pedro Feliz, who has just replaced Dobbs, as he has suffered a leg cramp on the previous play, who would throw to Utley to force out Willingham, thus ending the inning. The Phillies would then put the game away in the eighth, as, with a runner on first and no one out, Feliz would hit a two-run home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, knocking in Shane Victorino who has reached base earlier with a single. After Ryan Madson has put the Marlins down 1-2-3 in their half of the eighth, Brad Lidge would be handed the ball in the ninth to end the game. The Marlins would get runners on first and second with two men outs, but Lidge would finally end the game by getting pinch hitter Dallas McPherson to strike out swinging for his fortieth save of the year.

Jamie Moyer would get the win as he would go six innings, giving up just an earned run on six hits while striking out four. His record is now 15-7 with a 3.78 ERA, while his career record against the Marlins is now 11-1. Chad Durbin would pitch one-third of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits while walking one. Clay Condrey would also pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Ryan Madson would pitch a 1-2-3 scoreless inning. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out two as he records his fortieth save in forty tries. Chris Volstad would take the lost, as he pitches five innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits. His record is now 5-4 with a ERA of 3.10. Doug Waechter would go a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Andrew Miller would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Kevin Gregg would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Joe Nelson would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Ryan Tucker would pitch a scoreless 1-2-3 inning.

Although out hit by the Marlins, the Phillies’ offense would get the hits when they counted on Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz’s two two-run home runs, with the second one helping to take some of the wind out of the Marlins’ sails. The Phillies have won their fourth straight series since losing two of three to the Marlins at home, doing what they needed to do to get into first place in first the wild card chase and then the Eastern Division, as they watch first the Brewers and then the Mets slip out of the lead in the wild card and the division respectively. At the same time, they have put the Marlins out of contention in both the East and the wild card race. For the Phillies, the magic number to get into the playoffs is now set at 3. Hopefully, they can get it done by the time the Braves leave town this Wednesday.

The Phillies (86-68) will be coming home for their final home stand of the regular season, playing three games with the fourth place Braves (69-87). The first game of the series will be played tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be rookie J.A. Happ (1-0, 4.24), who is coming off a win against these same Braves on September 17, as he would pitch six shut out innings, giving up only three hits, in the Phillies’ 6-1 win. In three starts this year, Happ’s ERA is 2.12. He will be trying for his second major league win, while trying to get the Phillies even closer to reentering the playoffs. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (13-10, 3.72), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies on September 17, as he went five innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits, in the Braves’ 6-1 lost. He will be trying to improve on his last start, while trying to slow down the Phillies’ charge towards the playoffs.

With the win, the Phillies have increased their lead over the Mets to a game and a half as they lost to the Braves. They have increased their lead over the Marlins to six and a half games with the win. In the Wild Card race, the Mets now lead the Brewers by one and a half games as they defeated the Reds. The Mets now lead the Astros by four games as they beat the Pirates. The Phillies will now come home, trying to first clinch a spot in the playoffs before going for either the Eastern Division flag or the Wild Card spot.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 8: Phillies defeated the Marlins, 3-2, in another heart stopper. Regain the lead in the East as the Mets lose to the Braves.

The Phillies, behind Joe Blanton and the bullpen, would hold on in a heart stopper to defeat the Marlins, 3-2. The win and the Mets’ lost to the Braves would put the Phillies back into first place in the Eastern Division pennant race. The Phillies would take the lead in the third as, with two men on and one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI single, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who has gotten on base earlier on Marlins’ third baseman Jorge Cantu’s throwing error, and would then go to second on Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton’s sacrifice bunt, who would in turn be safe on first on Marlins’ starter Anibal Sanchez’s own throwing error, giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The Marlins would then strike back in their half of the third, when, with two men on and one out, John Baker would hit a two-run double, scoring Alfredo Amezaga, who has earlier singled and would move on to second on Cameron Maybin’s single, and Maybin, who has singled, to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. The Phillies would tie the game up in the fourth as, with one out, Shane Victorino would hit a solo home run, his fourteenth home run of the year. The Phillies would then retake the lead in the sixth, as with two men on and two out, Greg Dobbs would hit a bloop single to left, scoring Ryan Howard, who has gotten on base earlier with a walk, giving the Phillies a 3-2 lead, and sending Pat Burrell, who has also walked, to second. After throwing two balls to Ruiz, Sanchez would be taken out of the game because of cramps to his right leg. The Marlins’ relief pitcher, Logan Kensing, would then throw two balls to Ruiz, walking him and loading the bases, although the walk would be charged to Sanchez. Kensing would then be taken out for Mark Hendrickson, who would get pinch hitter Tadahito Iguchi, who was pinch hitting for the originally announced pinch hitter Geoff Jenkins, who was pinch hitting for Blanton, to fly out to end the inning. The Phillies bullpen would then spend the next four innings turning back the Marlins. Sixth: Chad Durbin would get the first two batters out but would then give up a walk to Josh Willingham. But with the count 2-1 on Cody Ross, Ruiz would pick Willingham off first base, with Howard applying the tag, to end the inning. Seventh: After getting out the first batter, Durbin would give up a single to Amegaza. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout, and replace Durbin with J.C. Romero. Romero would then walk pinch hitter Paul Lo Duca, sending Amegaza to second. After Brett Carroll goes to first base to pinch run for Lo Duca, Romero would proceed to strike out Maybin for the inning’s second out, and then strike out Baker to end the inning. Eighth: With Ryan Madson on the mound, he would give up a single to Cantu and then a double to Mike Jacobs, putting runners on second and third, with no one out, thanks to Jayson Werth’s playing of the ball after it drops in. After Jacobs is replaced by pinch runner Robert Andino, Dan Uggla would hit a slow roller to third. After getting the ball, Phillies’ third baseman Greg Dobbs would throw home, cutting down Andino, who would be tagged out by Ruiz, although instant replay would show that he might have beaten the tag, for the inning’s first out, while Jacobs would stay at second as Uggla would reach first on the fielder’s choice. Willingham would then hit into a force out, 6-4, cutting down Uggla at second, while Jacobs would go on to third, putting runners on the corners with two out. Madson would then end the inning by striking out Ross. Ninth: The ball is then handed over to Phillies’ closer Brad Liddge. Lidge would start the inning off by walking the pesky Amegaza. He would then strike out pinch hitter Dallas McPherson swinging for the inning’s first out, while Amegaza would steal second on the third strike. Lidge would then strike out Maybin swinging for the inning’s second out before he finally ends the ball game by striking out Baker, also swinging, for his thirty-ninth save in thirty-nine tries.

Joe Blanton would get the win, his third win as a Phil, as he would pitch five innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, while striking out nine. His record is now 8-12, 3-0 as a Phil, while his ERA is now 4.79. Chad Durbin would pitch one and a third innings, giving up no runs on one hit. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no hits while striking out two. Ryan Madson would pitch a scoreless inning, as he gives up two hits and strikes out one as he pitched his way out of a two on, no outs jam. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless ninth as he struck out the side swinging while also walking one, as he recorded his thirty-ninth save of the year. Anibal Sanchez would get the lost, as he goes five and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on four hits, as he struck out eight while also walking three. His record is now 2-5 with a 5.57 ERA. Logan Kensing would pitch to one batter, walking him, but having it charged to Sanchez, because of the 2-0 count thanks to Sanchez’s injury. Mark Hendrickson would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on no hits. Kevin Gregg and Joe Nelson would both pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit (Nelson) while striking out three batters between them (Gregg (2) and Nelson (1)).

Blanton would pitch five strong innings, being able to keep the fish off-balanced enough that they would only get four hits off of him while getting nine of the Marlins to strike out. The bullpen would then take over and pitch four shut out innings, refusing to give the Marlins’ batters that clutch hit, especially in the eighth inning, when they had runners on second and third with no outs, thus ending the Marlins’ winning streak at nine games, and bringing a little bit closer the ending of the Marlins’ hopes for a playoff berth.

The once again first place Phillies (87-68) will play the final game of their series with the third place Marlins (81-73) tomorrow afternoon. The game will be played at Dolphin Stadium and will start at 4:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be the Marlins’ nemesis Jamie Moyer (14-7, 3.86), who will be coming off a no-decision against the Braves on September 16, where he went five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-7 win. His last start against the Marlins on August 5 was a lost as he was only able to go five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits in the Phillies’ 8-2 lost. Lifeteime, his record against the Marlins is 10-1. He will be trying to regain his dominance over the young Marlins’ batters while gunning for his fifteenth win of the year. The Marlins will counter with rookie Chris Volstad (5-3, 3.07), who is coming off a win against the Astros on September 16, where he went eight innings, giving up an earned run on four hits, in the Marlins’ 5-1 win. He has faced the Phillies twice already this year, being 1-0 with a no-decision, as he would pitch a combine total of nine innings, giving up an earned run on five hits. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to hurt the Phillies’ pennant chances.

The Phillies are once again leading the Mets by half a game as they lost to the Braves. Their lead over the Marlins is now back to five and a half games thanks to their win over the fish. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets lead the Brewers by two and a half games as the Brewers lost to the Reds. The Mets lead both the Marlins and the Astros by five games, as the Astros lost to the Pirates. The Phillies will be trying for a series win while also hoping to increase their lead over the Mets in the Eastern Division.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Games 7 and 8: Trying to leave Florida with a series win and regaining first place in the East.

The Phillies (86-68) will continue their final three games series with the third place Marlins (81-72) with two games tonight and tomorrow afternoon. The Phillies’ starter for tonight’s game will be Joe Blanton (7-12 (2-0), 4.82), who will be coming off a no-decision against the Brewers on September 14 in the day half of the day/night doubleheader, as he went seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 7-3 win. This would be only his third start in which he would go for more than five innings, but it would come at a good time for the Phils. He has faced the Marlins before, recording his second win as a Phil since the trade, as he would defeat them on September 8, going five innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 8-6 win. He will be going for his second straight long start while trying to improve on his previous start against the fish, while at the same time trying to end the fish’s nine game winning streak. His opponent will be Anibal Sanchez (2-4, 5.87), who is coming off a no-decision against the Nationals on September 14, as he went seven innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, in the Marlins’ 8-7 win. He has faced the Phillies twice before, losing both starts, as he would go a combine total of only six and two-thirds innings, giving up eight earned runs on ten hits. He will be trying to improve his record while also trying to finally defeat the Phils.

The second game, the Phillies’ final game on the road, will be played Sunday afternoon at Dolphin Stadium, and will begin at 4:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter for this game will be the 45 years old Jamie Moyer (14-7, 3.86), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on September 16, as he would only go five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-7 win.This would only be his second bad start in his last nineteen. Careerwise, he is 10-1 against the fish, losing his last start against them on August 5 as he would only be able to go five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-2 lost. He will be trying for his eleventh win against the fish, trying to regain his dominace over the young Marlin batters, while going for his fifteenth victory overall. The Marlins will be sending to the mound Chris Volstad (5-3, 3.07), who will be coming off a win against the Astros on September 16 as he went eight innings, giving up only an earned run on four hits, in the Marlins’ 5-1 win. In his last two starts against the Phillies, he is 1-0 with a no-decision, which the Marlins would win, as he would go a combine total of nine innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits. He will be trying to improve his record while also trying to hurt the Phillies’ playoff hopes.

The Phillies’ offense just need to continue what they were doing in their recent seven games winning streak and at the beginning of last night’s game: score runs early, and then later on just keep on scoring, and mainly doing it by being as patient as they can when batting against the other team’s starting pitching. At the same time, the two starters, Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer, will have to go after the Marlins’ young batters, and doing so by throwing them mainly off-speed stuff and only using fastballs when they have the batters confused by the slower stuff, otherwise they are going to find themselves getting pounded by this fastball hitting team and forced to use up the bullpen.

The Phillies trail the Mets by a half game, as they prepare to face the Braves. The Phillies are ahead of the Marlins by four and a half games as they continue their series. In the Wild Card chase, the Phillies are still leading the Brewers by two games, although they are presently trailing the Reds at the moment. They are ahead of both the Marlins and the Astros by four and a half games as the Astros get ready to play the Pirates tonight. The Phillies will be trying to regain the lead in the East while trying to push back the challenge of the now hot Marlins while trying to bury the still slumping Brewers.

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