Results tagged ‘ Wild Card ’

The Phils take two from the Mets, beating them, 3-1, as they now have a share of first place in the National League Wild Card race.

The Phils find themselves percentage points ahead in the NL Wild Card race as they take the series from the Mets by defeating them last night, 3-1.

The Phils took the lead in the third as, with one man on, and with two men out, Shane Victorino hits an RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier singled, then proceeded to steal first second and then third, to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Mets would tie it up at one-all as Jose Reyes hits a lead-off home run, his eighth home run of the year. The Phils would retake the lead in the fifth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Placido Polanco hits an RBI single, knocking in Victorino, who had earlier singled, and then stole second base, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead. The Phils then made it 3-1 in the sixth as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI single, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had earlier tripled. That would be all that Phils’ starter Kyle Kendrick would need as he would be able to control the Mets after giving up five hits to the first ten men that he would face, but giving up only one run, as he would pitch six and two-thirds innings, giving up only six hits and striking out four, before being lifted in the bottom of the seventh with a man on first (Luis Castillo) via the only walk that he would give up during the game, with two men out, before Chad Durbin would end the inning by getting Jeff Francoeur to fly out to center for the inning’s final out. The back end of the Phils’ bullpen would easily handle the Mets in the last two innings, with their closer Brad Lidge throwing a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his sixteenth save of the season, as he got Josh Thole to end the game by flying out to center.

Kyle Kendrick gets the win as he pitches six and two-thirds inning, giving up just a run on six hits and a walk, while striking out four. His record is now 8-5 with a 4.45 ERA. Chad Durbin receives his tenth hold of the season as he pitches a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Ryan Madson collects his fifth hold of the year as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up just a walk, while striking out two. Brad Lidge receives his sixteenth save of the season as he pitches a 1-2-3 inning, striking out a batter. Mike Pelfrey took the lost as he pitches seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while striking out a batter. His record is now 11-7 with a 3.95 ERA. Pedro Feliciano, Bobby Parnell and Hisanori Takahashi combine for two scoreless innings, giving up just two hits (Feliciano (1), Takahashi (1)) and one walk (Takahashi), while striking out two (Feliciano (1), Takahashi (1)).

The Phils had nine hits in the game, with Victorino leading the team with three hits, a single and two doubles, scoring one run, while knocking in a run. He was followed by Jayson Werth with two hits, a single and a triple, scoring a run. Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz and pinch hitter Mike Sweeney had the other four Phils’ hits, all singles, with both Polanco and Ruiz knocking in a run. The Phils’ offense had decided to hit during the balance of the weekend series with the Mets.

The Phils (66-51, 2nd NL East, T-1st NL Wild Card) have the day off today, before they face the Giants (67-52, 2nd NL West, T-1st NL Wild Card) for three games at home, starting tomorrow night.

Despite good outing, Happ loses as bats remain silent as the Phils lose to the D-backs, 4-0.

In spite of a quality start, J.A. Happ loses his second start in a row as the Phillies’ offense is unable to get the big hit as the Phils are blanked by the D-backs, 4-0. They now lead the Marlins in the NL East by six games, as they head on to San Francisco for four games with the wild card-leading Giants.

The D-backs took the lead in the first as, with a man on base, and one out, Justin Upton hits a two-run home run, his nineteenth home run of the season, knocking in Stephen Drew, who had earlier singled, giving the D-backs a 2-0 lead. Phils’s starter J.A. Happ, after the home run, would settle down and keep the D-backs from causing any more trouble as he pitched a quality six innings of work, giving up only one more hit after that, along with two walks, while striking out five. Meanwhile, D-backs’ starter Yusmeiro Petit pitched a bit better as he gave the Phils’ batters fits during the six innings that he worked, giving up only two hits and a walk in those innings, as he struck out eight Phils. It wouldn’t be until the seventh when the Phils would be able to mount a threat, as Ryan Howard started the inning off with a single. Raul Ibanez followed him with a double, putting runners on second and third with no one out, as Howard stops at third base. Petit is replaced on the mound by Juan Gutierrez, who proceeded to strike out first Jayson Werth, and then Greg Dobbs, both swinging. The next batter, Carlos Ruiz, then worked a walk, loading the bases. But Gutierrez would turn the Phils away as pinch hitter Pedro Feliz flies out to center for the final out. The D-backs then increased their lead in their half of the seventh as, Chris Snyder hits a lead-off home run, his sixth home run of the season, making it 3-0 D-backs. The D-backs added an insurance run in the eighth as, with one man on and nobody out, Upton hits an RBI single, knocking in Gerardo Parra, who had earlier doubled, on a play that was reviewed by the umpires and declared a double, giving the D-backs a 4-0 lead. That would be the final score as the Phils went down in the ninth.

J.A. Happ took the lost as he pitched six quality innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out five. His record is now 7-2 with an ERA of 2.97. Scott Eyre pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits. Tyler Walker also pitched an inning, also giving up a run on two hits, as he struck out two. Yusmeiro Petit got the win as he pitched six innings plus two batters of shut out ball, giving up only four hits and a walk, while he struck out eight, His record is now 1-5 with an ERA of 6.75. Juan Gutierrez then pitched a scoreless inning as he recorded his fourth hold, as he only walked a batter, while striking out two. Jon Rauch recorded his eighth hold of the year as he also pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, while he struck out two. Chad Qualls pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up a hit.

The Phils had only seven hits in the game, with Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez both collecting two hits, with one of Ibanez’s hits being a double. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth had the other three Phils’ hits, with Werth’s hit being a double. The Phils were unable to knock in a run as the Phillies’ bats were unable to get the necessary big hit to get into the ballgame, as they were a bit too aggressive in the batter’s box.

The Phillies (58-41, 1st National League East) continue their road trip with a four-games set with the Giants (55-46, 2nd National League West) starting with a night game tonight. The game will be played at At&T Park and will begin at 10:15 pm Eastern (7:15 pm Pacific). The Phils will send to the mound Rodrigo Lopez (3-0, 3.09), who is coming off a win against the Cardinals on July 25, as he went six innings, giving up three runs on ten hits and a walk, while striking out two, in the Phils’ 14-6 rout. He will be going for his fourth win in what is more than likely his last start for the Phils this season as Cliff Lee will join the team after the trade. The Giants will counter with Jonathan Sanchez (3-9, 4.92), who is coming off a lost against the Rockies on July 25, as he went five innings, giving up five runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five, in the Giants’ 8-2 lost. He will be trying to keep from becoming another victim of the Phillies’ potent offense. The Phils will be trying to put together a new winning streak while showing that they can defeat anyone in the NL. They also would like to add on to their six games lead over the Marlins.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 2: Repeat! Repeat! The Phillies defeat the Nationals, 4-3, winning their second straight divisional title.

The Phillies held on to defeat the Nationals, 4-3, to win their second straight Eastern Division Championship. The Phillies would take the lead in the fourth, as, with runners on the corners and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a foul ball sacrifice fly, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled and would go to third on Ryan Howard’s single, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and still one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Howard, who would go to second on Shane Victorino’s single, and would then move up to third on Pedro Feliz’s walk, while Victorino would move up to second on the walk, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Nationals would cut the Phillies’ lead down to 2-1 in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Anderson Hernandez would hit a RBI double, scoring Roger Bernadina, who has earlier singled and would move on to second on Nationals’ starter John Lannan’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4. The Phillies would get that run back in their half of the fifth as Jayson Werth would hit a lead-off solo home run, his twenty-fourth home run of the year, giving the Phillies a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, the Nats would threaten to score as they would get their first two hitters, Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge, on base with singles, with Milledge’s being a bunt single that succeeded because Moyer has broken originally towards third base at the end of his delivery, before he was unable to grab the ball, putting Nats runners on first and second. But Moyer would then get out of the inning by getting first Elijah Dukes and then Aaron Boone to fly out to center and then getting Wil Nieves to strike out swinging. In the eighth inning, the Nats would make it close as, with runners on second and third, and no one out, Milledge would hit a sacrifice fly on a great play made by Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s first out, as Cristian Guzman, who has earlier singled and would go to third on Zimmerman’s double, would score during the collision between Rollins and a sliding Victorino, in which they would hit their right shins together, making it 3-2 Phils. As Rollins walk back to his position, walking it off, Victorino would lie on his back for a while, before he finally got back up and then walked it off as well, before the game resumed. Ryan Madson, who was pitching in relief of Chad Durbin, who, in turn, had pitched the seventh in relief of Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer, would end the inning by first getting Dukes to ground out, 6-4, and then getting Boone to strike out swinging. The Phillies would get that run back as, with a runner on first and two outs, Feliz would hit a RBI double, scoring Victorino, who has earlier singled and would run all the way home, making it 4-2 Phillies. The ball is then given to Brad Lidge to close it out. After striking out Emilio Bonifacio, he would give up a single to Bernadina. Pinch hitter Ryan Langerhans would than get on base with a walk, moving Bernadina up to second. Hernandez would follow with a RBI single, scoring Bernadina and sending Langerhans to second, making it 4-3 Phillies. Guzman would then single, moving Langerhans and Hernandez both up a base, as the bases are now loaded. The next batter, Zimmerman, would then hit a ground ball that tried to go into right center field for a hit. Rollins would stop the ball, and then threw it perfectly to Utley for the inning’s second out, wiping out Hernandez. Utley then threw a high throw that was brought down by Howard, beating out a slow running Zimmerman for the game’s final out on a double play and would lead to the start of the Phillies’ celebration of their second straight National League Eastern Division Championship, won at home for only the second time in the Phillies’ history.

Jamie Moyer would get the win, in the process tying Nolan Ryan’s record for the most games won by a 45 years old pitcher, as he went six innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits. His record is now 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning, giving up one earned run on two hits. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning, as he gave up an earned run on three hits as he recorded his forty-first save in forty-one attempts. John Lannan would get the lost, as he pitched five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 9-15 with a 3.91 ERA. Steven Shell would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Mike Hinckley would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on no hits. Garrett Mock would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.

 With the victory, the Phillies have captured their seventh National League Eastern Division pennant in the team’s 126 years history, and their first two consecutive divisional crowns since they have won three Eastern Division pennants back in 1976-1978. This is the first time that they have entered the postseason for two straight seasons since the 1980-1981 seasons. Jamie Moyer, for the second straight season, has pitched the Phillies into the playoffs with his strong six innings outing. Every regular, except for Carlos Ruiz, would get at least one hit, while Shane Victorino would go 3 for 4, all singles, and scoring what would turn out to be the game winning run.

The 2008 Eastern Divisional Champion Phillies (91-70) will be playing their last regular season game tomorrow afternon, Fan Appreciation Day, against the Nationals (59-101). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter, thank to the clinching, will be J.A. Happ (1-0, 3.90), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on September 21, as he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 win, instead of their ace Cole Hamels, who will now be given the day off. He has faced the Nationals once before, pitching an inning in relief against them on September 1, as he gave up no runs on one hit, in the Phillies’ 7-4 lost. In four starts, he is 1-0 with three no-decisions, all of which would be won by the Phillies, with an ERA of 2.28. He will be trying for his second major league win tomorrow afternoon. His opponent will be Odalis Perez (7-11, 4.27), who is coming off a lost to the Padres on September 21, as he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Nationals’ 6-2 lost. In his last appearance against the Phillies on September 3, he pitched a no-decision, going five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Nationals’ 9-7 win. He will be trying to improve his record and end the Nationals’ season on a high note.

The Phillies are still ahead of the Mets by two games, as they defeated the Marlins. In the Wild Card race, the Mets and the Brewers are once again tied for the wild card lead as the Brewers lost to the Cubs. The Wild Card race will now go down to the wire between the Mets and the Brewers with the magic number for both being at 2. The Phillies will more than likely be resting most of their regulars tomorrow, while waiting to see who their opponent will be in the National League Divisional Series.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Games 2 & 1: On the threshold of Winning the Eastern Division.

The Phillies (90-70) will conclude their final home stand of the regular season with the Nationals (59-100) with a game this afternoon, which will be nationally televised by Fox Sports and another game tomorrow afternoon. Today’s game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 3:55 pm Eastern, to be shown on Fox Sports. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (15-7, 3.78), who is coming off a victory over the Marlins on September 21, where he went six innings, giving up only one earned run on six scattered hits, in the Phils’ 5-2 win. In his last start against the Nats on August 21, he would receive a no-decision as he went six and one third innings, giving up just an earned run on five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 lost. He will be trying for both his team leading sixteenth victory and for the second straight year of pitching the Phillies into the playoffs, if the Marlins don’t defeat the Mets earlier today. The Nationals will counter with John Lannan (9-14, 3.86), who is coming off a lost to the Padres on September 20, when he went seven innings, giving up four runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits, in the Nationals’ 6-1 lost. In his last two starts against the Phillies, his record is 0-2, where he pitched a combined total of eleven and two-thirds innings, giving up eight earned runs on fourteen hits. He will be trying to get his tenth victory of the season while trying to see if he can stop the Phillies’ clinching celebration for one more day.

Tomorrow afternoon’s game, which will be the Phillies’ Fan Appreciation Day, will start at 1:35 pm Eastern. If the Phillies do not clinch the division today, their starter for tomorrow’s game will be their ace Cole Hamels (14-10, 2.09), who is coming off a hard lost against the Braves on September 23, where he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 lost. In his last start against the Nationals on September 2, he would get the victory as he pitched seven and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up only five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-0 win. He would be going for win number fifteen and clinching the division for the Phillies, and thus ending the Mets’ hope of gaining the divisional pennant. If the Phillies clinch on Saturday, their starter will more than likely be the rookie J.A. Happ (1-0, 3.90), who pitched a no-decision in his previous start against the Braves on September 22, going six and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 win. He has faced the Nationals once before this season, pitching an inning of relief on September 1, giving up no earned runs on one hit, in the Phillies’ 7-4 lost. He has started four games, going 1-0 with three no-decisions, all of which the Phillies would win. He will be trying for his second victory of the year. Either pitcher will be opposed by Odalis Perez (7-11, 4.27), who is coming off a no-decision against the Padres on September 21, going six innings, as he gave up three earned runs on five hits, in the Nationals’ 6-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record and if the pennant race is still on, ruin the Phillies’ chance to clinch the pennant.

The Phillies are presently ahead of the Mets in the East by two games as they play the Marlins in the next to last game to be played inside Shea Stadium, with the Phillies’ magic number to win the division at one. In the Wild Card race, the Brewers now lead the Mets by one game as they get ready to face the Cubs, with their magic number to clinch the Wild Card at two. The Phillies can clnch the East this afternoon, with the clinching party being seen on national television, if the Mets haven’t lost to the Marlins by the start of the ballgame. Whatever happens, the Phillies just need to take care of their own buisness and beat the Nationals. GO PHILLIES!!!!

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 3: The Phillies’ bat and Blanton’s pitching would help the Phillies defeat the Nats, 8-4. The Marlins’ defeat of the Mets would help shrink the Phils’ magic number down to 1.

The Phillies’ offense early innings offensive, and Blanton’s excellent pitching, would lead the Phillies to easily defeat the Nationals, 8-4. A Mets’ lost to the Marlins would help drop the Phillies’ magic number to win the Eastern Division down to one. The Phillies would take a quick lead in the first, as, with runners on the corners and one man out, Ryan Howard would hit a three-run home run, his forty-eighth home run of the year, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier singled and has moved to third on Chase Utley’s single, and Utley, who has singled earlier, to give the Phillies a quick 3-0 lead. The Nationals would get a run back in the second, as, with a runner on third and two outs, Luke Montz would hit a RBI single, knocking in Elijah Dukes who has earlier walked, went to second on a pass ball, moved to third on Kory Casto’s ground out, 4-3, to make it a 3-1 Phillies’ lead. The Phillies would blow the game wide open in their half of the second, as, with the bases loaded via a double (Greg Dobbs), a walk (Jimmy Rollins) and an infield single (Werth) and two outs, Utley would clear the bases by hitting a three-run RBI double, scoring Dobbs, Rollins and Werth, giving the Phillies a 6-1 lead. Howard would then follow with a RBI double, knocking in Utley, making it 7-1 Phils. The Nationals would cut the Phillies’ lead down in the fifth, as, with two men on and one out, Emilio Bonifacio would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Pete Orr, who would reach first on Howard’s fielding error and would move to third on Roger Bernadina’s double, to make it a 7-2 Phillies’ lead. One batter later, Bernadina would score on a Cristian Guzman’s single, cutting the Phillies’ lead down to 7-3. In the sixth, the Nationals would cut the lead down further to 7-4 Phillies as, with two outs, Casto would hit a solo home run, his second home run of the year, after the umpires have reviewed the play and dismissed Charlie Manuel’s argument that a fan has pulled the ball into the right field stands. The Phillies would get that run back in the seventh as, with runners on second and third and two men outs, Utley, who has earlier singled, stole second and would reached third on Shane Victorino’s force out, which would wipe out Pat Burrell, who has earlier walked, would crossed the plate on a pass ball, while Victorino, who has earlier stole second, would move on to third, making it 8-4 Phillies. Brad Lidge would then be given the ball in the ninth and would pitch a 1-2-3 inning.

Joe Blanton would get the win as he pitches six very strong innings, giving up four runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits. His record is now 9-12, 4-0 as a Phil, with an ERA of 4.69. Scott Eyre would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits while striking out two. Ryan Madson would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two. Collin Balester would take the lost, as he only went an inning and a third, giving up seven earned runs on seven hits. Jason Bergmann would pitch two and one third innings, giving up no runs on one hit. Charlie Manning would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Garrett Mock would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Mike Hinckley would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit. Jesus Colome would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on no hits.

The Phillies’ offense would bust the game open early in the first two innings, via a three-run home run by Ryan Howard and a three-run double by Chase Utley. With this big runs support, Joe Blanton would be able to mow down the Nationals, getting most of them out via a large number of ground ball outs. The score is closer than it actually should have been, as one National run would come in thanks in part to a Carlos Ruiz pass ball on a Blanton pitch, and their second and third runs would cross the plate because of Ryan Howard’s fielding error on a ball that was hit straight to him. Whatever Charlie Manuel has told his men during their afternoon meeting must’ve worked as they would score several very early runs.

The Phillies (90-70) will continue their final three games home stand of the regular season with the Nationals (59-100) with a game this afternoon, which will be nationally televised by Fox Sports. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 3:55 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be the 45 years old veteran Jamie Moyer (15-7, 3.78), who is coming off a win against the Marlins on September 21, where he went six innings, giving up only one earned run on six scattered hits, in the Phillies’ 5-2 win. In his last start against the Nats on August 21, he would receive a no-decision as he went six and one third innings, giving up just an earned run on five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 lost. He will be trying for both his team leading sixteenth victory and to clinch the Phillies into the playoffs, if the Marlins don’t defeat the Mets earlier in the day. The Nationals will send to the mound John Lannan (9-14, 3.86), who is coming off a lost to the Padres on September 20, when he went seven innings, giving up four runs, only one of which was earned, on four hits, in the Nationals’ 6-1 lost. In his last two starts against the Phillies, his record is 0-2, where he pitched a combined total of eleven and two-thirds innings, giving up eight earned runs on fourteen hits. He will be trying to get his tenth victory while trying to see if he can stop the Phillies’ clinching celebration for one more day.

The Phillies are now ahead of the Mets in the East by two games after their lost to the Marlins, leaving the Phillies’ magic number to win the division at one. In the Wild Card race, the Brewers are now leading the Mets by one game as they defeated the Cubs, with their magic number to clinch the Wild Card now at two. The Phillies could clnch the East Saturday afternoon, with the clinching party being seen on national television, if the Mets haven’t already lost to the Marlins by then. Whatever happens, the Phillies need to take care of their own buisness and defeat the Nationals. GO PHILLIES!!!!

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 4: Brett Myers has second straight bad outing as the Phillies lose to the Braves, 10-4. Mets lost drops Phillies’ magic number to 3.

For his second straight start, Brett Myers will be unable to get through the fifth inning as the Braves would bust the game wide open on a Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run in a six run fifth, as the Phillies fall to the Braves, 10-4. A Mets lost to the Cubs in extra-innings still leaves the Phillies ahead in the East by a game and a half while the magic number to clinch the East drops down to three. The Braves would score first in the first inning as, with two men on and no one out, Martin Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Josh Anderson, who has earlier doubled, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, while sending Kelly Johnson, who has earlier singled, to move on to second base. One out later, after Johnson has stolen third, as Brain McCann strikes out, to put runners on the corners, Casey Kotchman would make it 2-0 Braves, as he would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, and sending Prado to third. Phillies’ starter Brett Myers would finally get out of the inning by getting Omar Infante to hit into a double play, 1-6-3, cutting down Kotchman at second. The Phillies would get a run back in the second as, with runners on the corners and one man out, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier doubled and has went to third on Shane Victorino’s ground ball to Braves’ second baseman Johnson, who would then commit a fielding error that would allow Victorino to reach base, making it 2-1 Braves, while Victorino would go to second. Chris Coste would then end the inning by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play, cutting down Feliz at second. The Braves would make it 3-1 in the third, as, with a runner on third and one out, Kotchman would hit into an out to Ryan Howard, for the second out of the inning, scoring McCann, who has earlier doubled, and has gone to third as Jayson Werth threw out Prado, who has earlier singled, when he tried to score on McCann’s double, with Coste supplying the tag, for the inning’s first out. The Phillies would get it back in their half of the third, when, with two outs, Chase Utley would hit a solo home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-2 Braves. The Phillies would tie it up in the fourth as Howard would hit a lead off home run, his forty-seventh home run of the year. Burrell would then follow with a double. After a Victorino fly out to right would move Burrell to third, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox would come out and relieve Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would then proceed to strand Burrell at third as he first get Feliz to strike out for the inning’s second out and then get Coste to end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Braves would then retake the lead in the fifth. After getting the lead-off batter to fly out, Myers would give up a walk to Prado. McCann would follow with a RBI double, scoring Prado, and giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. After Myers intentionally walk Kotchman, Charlie Manuel would take out Myers and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would get the next batter, Infante, to hit a grounder to Howard. Instead of getting the sure out at first, Howard would throw to second, trying to force out Kotchman. Sadly, the plan backfired as the ball hit Kotchman and would go into right field, allowing McCann to score, making it a 5-3 Braves’ lead, with Kotchman safe at second and Infante on first thanks to Howard’s throwing error. This would become important as Durbin would strike out Jeff Francoeur for the inning’s second out, as it could’ve been the inning’s final out if Howard had gone to first and not second, leaving the Phillies’ trailing by one run. The next batter, Brandon Jones would then hit a RBI single, scoring Kotchman, giving the Braves a 6-3 lead and putting Infante on second. Chipper Jones is then sent out to pitch hit for Carlyle. Durbin is then replaced with Scott Eyre, whom the Phillies hope would be able to handle C. Jones. Sadly, he would not as C. Jones would hit a 2-1 fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his twenty-second home run of the year, knocking in both Infante and B. Jones, and giving the Braves a 9-3 lead. Eyre would then end the inning by striking out Anderson. That six run fifth inning would seem to take the fight out of the Phillies, as they would be unable to mount anything against the Braves’ relievers. The Braves, in the meantime, would tack on an extra run in the eighth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, who has earlier walked, and has stolen second, to give the Braves a 10-3 lead, The Phillies would get a run back in their half of the eighth, as, with runners on second and third, and one out, Burrell, who has earlier walked, would score on McCann’s pass ball, making it a 10-4 Braves’ lead, and sending Victorino, who has earlier double, to move to third. But that was where he would stay as Braves’ reliever Julian Taveraz would strike out pinch hitter Greg Dobbs for the inning’s second out and then strikes out pinch hitter Matt Stairs to end the inning. The Phillies would then go down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the ballgame.

Brett Myers would take the lost as he would only be able to go four and one third innings, giving up six run, four of which were earned, on ten hits. His record is now 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two runs, neither of which were earned, on one hit while striking out a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch and inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Jo-Jo Reyes would get a no decision, as he pitches three and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Buddy Carlyle would get the win as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Vladimir Nunez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Jorge Julio would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Julian Taveraz would pitch an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit and a walk. Manny Acosta would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The Phillies’ offense has once again gone silent for most of the night, being unable to do any real damage on Jo-Jo Reyes before he got yanked in the bottom of the fourth inning, and then being kept quiet for most of the night by the Braves’ bullpen. Of course, Brett Myers being unable to put down the Braves earlier in the night didn’t help matters and Ryan Howard’s fielding blunder of throwing to second base for the force instead of going to first for the sure out would open up the flood gates that would turn the game into a blow out in the fifth inning thanks to Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run. Sigh, I hate reruns like this. I wonder why this team never make pennant winning easy or fast. Luckily, a Mets’ lost to the Cubs in extra-innings has dropped the Phillies magic number down to three. Anyway, with the day off today they should be able to regroup and forget this series before they meet the Nationals for the final three games of the season, starting tomorrow, weather permitting, as a big storm is heading in the direction of both Philadelphia and New York, which could play a factor in both the Phillies-Nationals and the Mets-Marlins series. I guess we’ll see what develops by friday night.

The Phillies are still a game and a half ahead of the Mets as they lost to the Cubs in extra-innings, with one more game to play in their four games series tonight. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets and the Brewers are now tied for the lead as the Brew Crew defeated the Pirates, with one more game left in their series. This bring up several interesting scenarios for the start of tomorrow night’s series (Phillies-Nationals, Mets-Marlins, Brewers-Cubs): 1) A Mets lost to the Cubs and a Brewers lost to the Pirates would place the Mets two games behind the Phillies and leaving both teams two games behind the Phillies in the wild card (the best of the four scenarios); 2) A Mets lost and a Brewers victory would put the Mets two games behind the Phillies and a game behind the Brewers in the wild card (the preferred scenario as it would force the Mets to get past two teams); 3) A Mets win and a Brewers lost would put the Mets a game behind the Phillies and a game ahead of the Brewers (bad, as it will put the pressure back on the Phillies to try to win two against the pesky Nationals); and 4) both the Mets and the Brewers win, putting the Mets a game behind in the East and both teams a game behind the Phillies in the wild card (very bad as the Phllies will have to worry about both teams). While I prefer scenario number two, I would rather the Phillies would just go out and cream the Nationals and let everything else just sort itself out.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 4: Myers will try to bounce back to lead the team to another series win.

The Phillies (89-69) will play the last game of their three games series with the Braves (70-88) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start 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 19, as he 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 bounce back from that start, like his did in his previous start against the Brewers on September 14, when 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 in the season. 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 Phillies’ offense should be trying to rebound from last night’s hard lost and Jo-Jo Reyes and his 7.56 ERA against them should be what the doctor ordered. Of course, they need to concentrate on the HRP: Hits, Runs and Pile it on. Get base hits, score runs early and score runs often. A steal or two from either Jimmy Rollins or Shane Victorino once they get on base wouldn’t hurt the cause. Brett Myers, for his part, needs to just forgot about last Friday’s game and take his frustrations out on the Braves’ bat, shutting them down so that they won’t be able to get any run opportunities like they got in last night’s game. He will have to be ready to put on his A-game to pick up Cole Hamels. At the same time, the bullpen should be ready to keep down the Braves once they are given the ball in relief.

The Phillies lead the Mets by a game and a half in the East as the Mets prepare to face the Cubs once again. The magic number for the Divisional crown is still at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead over the Brewers is still a game as they get ready to face the Pirates. 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: 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.

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