Three home runs by Jason Giambi doom the Phils as they lose to the Rockies, 7-1.
The Rox took a quick 3-0 lead in the first as, with two men on, and with two men out, Jason Giambi hits a three-run home run, his second home run of the season, knocking in Dexter Fowler, who had started the game off with a single, then went to third base on Troy Tulowitzki’s single, and Tulowitzki, who had just singled. The Rockies then increased their lead to 5-0 in the third as, with one man on, and with two men out, Giambi hits a two-run home run, his third home run of the season, and his second home run of the game, scoring Carlos Gonzalez, who had earlier doubled. The Phils would get on the board in the fourth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI ground-rule double, knocking in Placido Polanco, who had earlier singled, then went to second base on Jhoulys Chacin’s wild pitch when he struck out Ross Gload, allowing Gload to reach first base, making it a 5-1 Rox’s lead, while sending Gload, who had reached first base on a strikeout-wild pitch, to stop at third base. The Rox then added to their lead in the fifth as, with one man on, and with one man out, Giambi hits a two-run home run, his third home run of the night and his fourth home run of the season, knocking in Tulowitzki, who had reached first base on Polanco’s fielding error, making it a 7-1 Rockies’ lead. That would end up being the final score as Felipe Paulino pitched a scoreless ninth.
Kyle Kendrick (3-3, 3.28), who was pitching in place of scheduled starter Joe Blanton, who was taken out for an injury while warming up, took the lost as he went three innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out two. Danys Baez pitched two innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits, as he struck out one. Scott Mathieson, Michael Stutes and J.C. Romero combine for four scoreless innings, giving up five hits (Mathieson (3), Stutes (1), Romero (1)), while striking out seven (Mathieson (3), Stutes (2), Romero (2)) between them. A Phil starter threw a bad game for the first time in several starts, thanks to the Phils needing to put in an emergency starter because of Blanton’s injury while warming up. Jhoulys Chacin (5-2, 2.70) got the win as he went seven strong innings, giving up a run on four hits and a walk, while striking out nine. Matt Lindstrom and Felipe Paulino would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up two hits (one hit each) between them.
The Phils had only six hits in the game, with Placido Polanco (Singles) and Raul Ibanez (Single, Ground-Rule Double, RBI), both having two hits. Ross Gload (Single) and Carlos Ruiz (Single) had the other two Phils’ hits. The Phils’ offense continue to be enemic as they now face their first American League team during a preview of Interleague Play.
The Phils (26-17, 1st NL East) will begin a three-game set with the Rangers (23-21, 1st AL West) in their first Interleague Play series. The game will start at 7:05 pm EDT and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will send to the mound their ace Roy Halladay (5-3, 2.21) as he is coming off a lost to the Braves on May 15, as he pitched eight innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out seven, in the Phils’ 3-2 lost. He will be trying to end his two-game losing streak. The Rangers will counter with C.J. Wilson (4-2, 3.38), who is coming off a no-decision against the Angels on May 15, as he pitched five innings, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks, as he struck out two, in the Rangers’ 5-4 win. He will be going for his fifth win of the season. The Phils will be trying to get the offense going, as Dom Brown and Scott Herndon (What? Are they kidding bringing back that stiff?!?) are both called up from the Iron Pigs to replace Shane Victorino, who was placed on the disabled list, while Joe Blanton will stay with the team, for now, as Mathieson is sent back to Lehigh Valley.
Roookie Dom Brown proves that he’s worth the hype as he gets two hits, knocks in two runs and score two runs, in his first big league game, while Roy Halladay dominates the D-backs as he throws a complete game, although losing the shut out on a rookie mistake by Brown in the ninth inning, as the Phils defeat the D-backs, 7-1.
The Phils took the lead in the second as, with a runner on second, and with nobody out, Dom Brown gets an RBI double, his first major league hit and RBI, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had earlier doubled, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, with runners on the corners as Brown went to third on Carlos Ruiz’s single, and with still nobody out, Wilson Valdez hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Brown, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead, while sending Ruiz, who had just singled, over to second base. The Phils added to their lead in the sixth as, with two men on base, and with nobody out, Ruiz hits a two-run double, scoring Werth, who had earlier singled, and then went to second on Brown’s single, and Brown, who had earlier singled, giving the Phils a 4-0 lead. The Phils made it 5-0 three batters later as, with a runner on third, as Ruiz moved up to third on a Valdez ground out, 6-3, for the inning’s first out, and with two men out, Placido Polanco hits an RBI single, scoring Ruiz. The Phils increased their lead in the seventh as, with two men on, and with one man out, Brown hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Raul Ibanez, who had earlier singled, and then had gone to third on Werth’s double, making it a 6-0 Phils’ lead, while sending Werth, who had just doubled, to third base. The Phils then made it 7-0 as, with a man on third, and now with two men out, Ruiz hits an RBI double, knocking in Werth. The D-backs finally scored in the ninth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Miguel Montero hits an RBI double on a ball that Brown tried to catch by diving for it, but missed, knocking in Kelly Johnson, who had earlier singled, making it a 7-1 Phils’ lead. But, that would become the final score as Phils starter Roy Hallady got Mark Reynolds to fly out to left for the final out.
Roy Halladay gets the win as he pitches a complete game, giving up just one run on six hits, while he struck out nine. His record is now 12-8 with a 2.21 ERA. Edwin Jackson took the lost as he pitches five innings plus three batters, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out three. His record is now 6-10 with a 5.16 ERA. Sam Demel pitches two innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out two. Juan Gutierrez pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a walk, while striking out one.
The Phils had twelve hits in the game, with Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz leading the team with three hits each. Werth’s hits were a single, and two doubles, scoring three runs, while Ruiz’s three hits were also a single and two doubles, knocking in three runs. Raul Ibanez and Rookie Dom Brown followed with two hits each, with both Ibanez and Brown’s hits being a single and a double, with Brown knocking in two runs, one on a sac fly. Placido Polanco and Roy Halladay had the other two Phils’ hits, both singles, with Polanco knocking in a run. Wilson Valdez knocked in the other Phil run on a ground out. The offense crushed the D-backs, while Rookie Dom Brown shows that he is as good as advertised.
The Phils (55-46, 2nd NL East) will conclude their series and their home stand with a night game against the D-backs (37-64, 5th NL West). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 4.60), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on July 24, where he had pitched seven strong innings, giving up just a run on six hits and a walk, while striking out three, in the Phils’ 10-2 rout. In his last three starts, his record is 1-1 with a no-decision, as he had pitched eighteen and two-thirds innings, giving up nine runs on sixteen hits and four walks, while striking out nine. He will be trying to prove that he should not have been demoted after his disaster outing against the Cardinals. The D-backs will try to counter with Joe Saunders (0-0, -.-), who the D-backs have just acquired in a trade with the Angles. In his last start for the Angles, he lost to the Rangers on July 23, as he pitched seven innings, giving up a run on seven hits and a walk, while striking out six, in the Angels’ 1-0 lost. In his last three starts as an Angel, his record is 0-2 with a no-decision, as he went eighteen and two-thirds innings, giving up eleven runs, ten of which were earned, on twenty-seven hits and two walks, while striking out twelve. He will be trying to prove that he was worth the trade. The Phils will be going for the series sweep, trying to extend their present winning streak to eight games, and their winning streak at home to eleven, while they wait to hear whether or not Roy Oswalt has decided to enforce his no-trade clause.
Behind the complete game pitching of Cliff Lee and an offensive attack powered by Chase Utley’s two solo home runs, the Phils defeated the Yankees, 6-1, taking a 1 games to 0 lead in the best of seven World Series.
The Phils took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the third as, with two men out, Chase Utley hits a solo home run to right, his first home run of the series. The Phils increased their lead to 2-0 in the top of the sixth as, with one man out, Utley hits to right field his second solo home run of the night, and of the series. The Phils would then make it 4-0 in the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Jimmy Rollins, who then stole second, a walk to Shane Victorino, and then a walk to Jayson Werth, after Ryan Howard hits a fly ball which would move Rollins up to third base, while Victorino would move up to second base on Werth’s walk, and with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits a two-run seeing eye ball single into right field, scoring both Rollins and Victorino, while sending Werth up to second base. The Phils then made it 5-0 in the ninth as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Victorino hits an RBI single, knocking in Carlos Ruiz, who had earlier doubled, and then went to third on Rollins’ single up the third base line, while Rollins would move up to second. Two batters later, with runners once again on the corners as Rollins moved up to third on an Utley fly out, the Phils would make it 6-0 as Howard hits an RBI double, scoring Rollins, before Victorino is thrown out at home, 9-2, to end the inning. As the Phils build up their lead, Cliff Lee was handling the Yankees with ease, giving up only four hits by the ninth inning, with only one man reaching second base, Derek Jeter with a two-out double in the third, while striking out eight batters. The Yankees would finally score a run in the bottom of the ninth as, with two men on, via singles to Jeter and Johnny Damon, and with nobody out, Mark Teixeira hits a grounder to Utley, who threw to Rollins for a force out, for the first out of the inning, wiping out Damon at second base. But Rollins, who actually had time to make an accurate throw to first for a double play, instead threw the ball wildly past Howard and into the dugout, allowing Jeter to score, making it a 6-1 Phils’ lead, and allowing Teixeira to go to second base. But that would be it as Lee would then proceed to strike out both Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada swinging to end the ball game.
Cliff Lee pitched a complete game, giving up an unearned run on six hits, while striking out ten batters. His series record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. CC Sabathia took the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out six. His series record is now 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA. Phil Hughes pitched to two batters, walking both, giving up two runs. Damaso Marte pitched two-thirds of an inning, striking out a batter. David Robertson pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Brian Bruney pitched a third of an inning, giving up two runs on three hits. Phil Coke pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit.
The Phils had nine hits in the game, with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both leading the team with two hits a piece, with both of Utley’s hits being solo home runs, while both of Howard’s hits were doubles, knocking in a run. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz had the other five Phils’ hit, with Victorino’s hit being an RBI single, Ibanez’s hit being a two-run single, and Ruiz’s hit being a double. The Phils had a total of four singles and five extra-base hits (2B (3), HR (2)). The Phils did rather well with RISP last night being 4 for 9.
The Phillies (1-0) continues the 2009 World Series with the Yankees (0-1) in the new Yankees Stadium with a ballgame tonight. The game is to start at 7:57 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (0-0, 0.00), who last pitched on October 16 in game two of the NLCS against the Dodgers, where he received a no-decision as he went seven scoreless innings, giving up just two hits, while he struck out three, in the Phils’ 2-1 lost. He will be trying to keep the Yankees off-balance and give the Phils a commanding 2-0 lead in the series. The Yankees will counter with A.J. Burnett (0-0, 5.84), who is coming off a no-decision against the Angels in game five of the ALCS on October 22, where he pitched six innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and three walks, while he struck out three, in the Yankees’ 7-6 lost. He will be trying to even up the series at a game apiece. The Phils will be trying to leave New York with a two game to none lead, but will be happy to leave with a split before coming back home to Philadelphia with home field advantage.
Four home runs, with two of them by Jayson Werth, help rocket the Phils past the Dodgers, 10-4, to win the 2009 National League Championship Series, 4 games to 1, to become the first National League squad, since the 1995-96 Atlanta Braves, to win back-to-back National League pennants. The Phillies will now try to become the first NL team, since the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati, to win back-to-back World Series (1975-76).
The Dodgers took the early lead in the first as, with two men out, Andre Ethier hits a solo home run, his first home run iof the series, to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. The Phils then struck back in their half of the first as, with two men on base, and with two men out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run bomb into the right field seats, his second home run of the series, knocking in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, who had both been walked, to give the Phils a 3-1 lead. The Dodgers got a run back in the second as James Loney hits a lead-off home run, his second home run of the series, cutting the Phils’ lead to 3-2. The Phillies would get that run back in their half of the second as Pedro Feliz hits the first pitch into right field for a solo home run of his own, his first of both the series and of the post-season, to give the Phils a 4-2 lead. The Phillies then increased their lead in the fourth as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Werth, who had just singled, giving the Phils a 5-2 lead. Five batters later, with the bases loaded, thanks to a Carlos Ruiz walk, then Phils’ starter Cole Hamels moving both Ibanez and Ruiz up a base with a sacrifice bunt, and Jimmy Rollins then being hit by the pitch, and with two men out, Shane Victorino brought in another run as he in turn was hit by the pitch, forcing in Ibanez, making it a 6-2 Phils’ lead, as both Ruiz and Rollins moved up a base. The Dodgers got a run back in the fifth as, with one man out, pinch hitter Orlando Hudson hits a pinch hit solo home run, his first of the series, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 6-3. The Phils then added to their lead in the sixth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Victorino hits a two-run shot into left field, his second home run of the series, knocking in Rollins, who had earlier been hit by the pitch for the second straight time, to make it an 8-3 Phils’ lead. The Phils increased their lead in the seventh as, with one man out, Werth hits a solo home run, his second home run of the game, his third home run of the series and his fifth of the post-season, to give the Phils a 9-3 lead. The Dodgers then made one last attempt in the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via singles to Ronnie Belliard and Ethier, who sent Belliard to third with his single, and a walk to Manny Ramirez, and with nobody out, Matt Kemp hits an RBI single, scoring Belliard, and moving both Either and Ramirez up a base, making it a 9-4 Phils’ lead, with the bases still loaded. But the Phils then got out of the inning, as Ryan Madson then got Loney to foul out to the third baseman, then struck out Russell Martin, swinging, then got Casey Blake to hit into a force out, 6-4, wiping out Kemp at second. The Phils then got that run back in their half of the eighth as, with runners on second and third, thanks to a single by Rollins and a ground-rule double, thanks to Fan Interference, by Victorino, and with two men out, with Utley batting, Rollins would score on a wild pitch by Dodgers’ reliever Ronald Belisario, giving the Phils a 10-4 lead, while sending Victorino over to third. The Phils then send out Brad Lidge to end the game. He first struck out pinch hitter Mark Loretta swinging for the first out. He then got Rafael Furcal to foul out to the catcher for the second out. He then got Belliard to fly out to center to end the game, and give the Phils their second straight NL pennant, and the seventh NL pennant in the francishe’s long history.
Cole Hamels received a no-decision as he lasted only four and a third innings, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. J.A. Happ pitched a third of an inning, giving up a walk. Chad Durbin got the win as he pitched one and a third scoreless innings, as he struck out a batter. His series record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning plus two batters, giving up a run on two hits, as he struck out a batter. Ryan Madson pitched an inning, giving up a hit. Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. Vicente Padilla took the lost as he lasted four innings plus two batters, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks, as he struck out three. His series record is now 0-1 with a 6.10 ERA. Ramon Troncoso pitched two-thirds of an inning, walking a batter and hitting a batter. George Sherrill pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run, as he hit a batter, as he struck out one. Clayton Kershaw pitched two innings, giving up two runs on a hit, a walk and a hit batter, while he struck out three. Hong-Chih Kuo pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, as he struck out three batters. Ronald Belisario pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits and a wild pitch.
The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Jayson Werth leading the team with three hits, including two home runs, as he knocked in four runs. Shane Victorino followed with two hits, a two-run double and a ground-rule double, knocking in three runs. Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz followed with one hit each, with Ibanez’s hit being an RBI double and Feliz’s hit being a solo home run. The Phils had six extra-base hits in the game, two doubles and four home runs, as the offense, once again, got the hits when they needed them.
The Phillies (4-1) now wait to find out who their American League opponent will be in the 2009 World Series, as the 2009 ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim continues tonight in Anaheim.
It is now two days before the start of the 2008 World Series, which will be played at the home ball park of the American League Champion, the Tampa Bay Rays, Tropicana Field, on Wednesday, October 22, at 8:22 pm Eastern. The Tampa Bay Rays will be hosting the National League Champion, the Philadelphia Phillies, a team that has just won only its sixth pennant in its 125-years history. So, how did Charlie Manuel’s boys get here, on the verge of possibily winning the franchise’s second World Series crown? Let look at the numbers, shall we?
First, let’s see how well this team did month by month.
As can be seen, the team has winning records in six of the seven months shown above, with their best month being September, when the team, with Ryan Howard’s resurging bat leading the way, would sprint their way to the National League Eastern Division pennant, and with their worst month being June, which coincided with their bad spell of Interleague play. More on that later.
Another thing that people have said is that you have to win series to win pennants, and the Phillies have also done that. At the end of the regular season, they have ended up with 27 series wins, 19 series loses and 6 series splits. Of their 27 series wins, they have won all of the games (sweep) in nine of them (Colorado (2), Atlanta (3), Washington (2), Los Angeles (NL) (1), Milwaukee (1)) for a total of 28 wins, while in their 19 series defeats they were swept only twice (Los Angeles (AL), Los Angeles (NL)) for a total of 7 loses. Of their 10 series wins during the last two months of the regular season, their most important ones would be the one against the Padres in San Diego as it would help to get the team back on track after having been swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles; their home sweep of the Dodgers since it would help prove to the team that they can beat anybody at home; their win against the Mets in New York at the beginning of September as it would help the Phillies stay close to the Mets, especially after having lost the previous series in Washington; their four games sweep of the Brewers, as it would give the Phillies the option of winning either the Eastern Division or the Wild Card, putting them in the driver seat of the later as they challenged the fading Mets for the former; their final sweep of the Braves in Atlanta as it would help to build up momentum for; their series win against the Marlins in Miami, in which they would help to kill the Marlins’ own hope for the post-season; and lastly, their second sweep of the Nationals which would see them clinch their second straight divisonal crown on the last Saturday of the regular season, while the Sunday win by the rookies and the bench players would help them to maintain momentum going into the National League Divisional Series against Milwaukee.
Another thing that you need to do is to win games in your own division. And the Phillies have actually accomplished that, believe it or not. In fact, they have done pretty well against both teams in their own division and against the teams of the other two divisions within the National League:
National League East: 41-31
National League Central: 27-16
National League West: 20-12
Unfortunately, they have not done so well this year against teams from the American League, going 4-11 in Interleague play.
But, how well have they performed against the other clubs in the National League? The Phillies would end the regualr season with losing records against only two other NL teams, both of them being teams within their own division:
National League East:
Atlanta Braves: 14-4
Washington Nationals: 12-6
Florida Marlins: 8-10
New York Mets: 7-11
The Phillies’ best record in both the division and against the NL overall was their 14-4 record against the Braves, which included their three straight three games sweeps of the Braves’ in their own ball park, something that have not happened to the Braves since they were swept by the Chicago Cubs in 1909, when they were known as the Boston Doves. Their worst record in the division was their 7-11 record against the New York Mets, who won all but the last two series with the Phils, including their series spilt of late August in Philadelphia and the Phillies’ 2-1 series victory in New York in early September, including the spilt of a day/night Sunday doubleheader which would keep the Phillies close to the Mets before they would make their final move to win the Eastern Division pennant.
National League Central:
Milwaukee Brewers: 5-1
Cincinnati Reds: 5-3
St. Louis Cardinals: 5-4
Chicago Cubs: 4-3
Houston Astros: 4-3
Pittsburgh Pirates: 4-2
Against the teams of the National League Central Division, the Phillies would do rather well, winning most of their series against them. They would do best against the Brew Crew, spliting the series in Milwaukee and then sweeping them in an important August series in Philadelphia that would help propel the Phillies into the lead of the National League Wild Card race, on their way to their eventual winning of the National League Eastern Division.
National League West:
Colorado Rockies: 5-0
Los Angeles Dodgers: 4-4
Arizona Diamonbacks: 4-3
San Diego Padres: 4-2
San Francisco Giants: 3-3
Against the West, the Phillies would end the season with a 20-12 record, doing their best against the Rockies, as they would get even with the former National League Champions for losing the 2007 National League Divisional Series by sweeping them in five games, although they would do the home portion of the sweep against a wounded team, while doing their worst against both the Giants and the Dodgers, as they would spilt home series with both teams, winning the series at Citizens Bank Park (2-1 (Giants), 4-0 (Dodgers)), while losing the series on the road (1-2 (Giants), 0-4 (Dodgers)).
Last, and certainly not least, the Phillies did not do very well this year in Interleague play. Lets face facts, people, they stank, as they went 2-4 against two teams in the American League East, and 2-7 against three teams from the American League West, while going 1-5 against two of the elite teams in the American League (Boston and Los Angeles Angels):
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 0-3
Boston Red Sox: 1-2
Oakland Athletics: 1-2
Texas Rangers: 1-2
Toronto Blue Jays: 1-2
With their record against American League teams in Interleague play, it should means that this team might have a hard time with the American League Champion Tampa Bay Ray. But the team that got creamed by the American League in May and June is not the same team that have finished crushing first the Milwaukee Brewers in the Divisional Series and then the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Championship Series, and with little help from either their set up man (Jimmy Rollins) or their biggest offensive threat (Ryan Howard) until the end of both series. This team appears to be a lot more confident now then they did when they faced the American League elite teams the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels at home back in June. That might make all the difference by the time the World Series is over.
The Phillies also had a very good home-road split. At Citizens Bank Park, they had a record of 48-33, where they were in a four way tie for the second best record for the National League, while they were 44-37 on the road, the best record in the National League. Overall, their 92-70 record was the second best in the National League, trailing only the Chicago Cubs (97-64) and the fifth best in the Majors. Those two records of success at both home and on the road should help the Phillies when they face the Rays starting on Wednesday.
The Phillies, behind a bunch of rookies and bench players, defeated the Nationals, 8-3, ending the 2008 regular season on a high note. They will now be facing the Brewers in the National League Divisional Series starting this coming Wednesday afternoon.
The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as, with two men on base and one out, Eric Bruntlett, who has earlier singled and then moved to third on Tadahito Iguchi’s double, would cross the plate on Nationals’ starter Odalis Perez’s wild pitch, while Iguchi would move up to third. The Nationals would tie the game in the third, as the Phillies’ surprise starter Kyle Kendrick would give up a lead-off home run to Luke Montz, his first career home run. The Nationals would then take the lead in the fourth as, with a runner on second and no one out, Kory Casto would hit a RBI double, scoring Anderson Hernandez, who has earlier doubled, to make it 2-1 Nationals. Two batters later, with Casto now on third, after moving up on Ryan Langerhans’ ground out, 4-3, he would score on Alberto Gonzalez’s RBI single, making it 3-1 Nationals. The Phillies would strike back in their half of the fourth, as, with runners on second and third and two outs, So Taguchi would hit a two-run single, scoring Lou Marson, who has earlier singled, his first hit in the majors, and would move up to third on pinch hitter Jayson Werth’s single, who would later steal second, tying the game up at three all. Eric Bruntlett would then follow with a RBI double, knocking in Taguchi and giving the Phillies a 4-3 lead. The Phillies would add to their lead in the sixth, when, with a runner on first and two outs, Taguchi would hit a RBI triple, knocking in pinch hitter Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled to the left of the shift that most major league teams would put up against him, making it 5-3 Phillies. Then in the eighth, the Phillies would put the game away, when, with a runner on first and two outs, Marson would hit a monster two-run home run to left, his first career home run, scoring Greg Golson, who was earlier safe at first on a force play, which has wiped out Mike Cervenak, who has earlier reached base on a fielding error by Nationals’ shortstop Hernandez, giving the Phillies a 7-3 lead. Pinch hitter Matt Stairs would then follow with a solo home run to right, his thirteen home run of the year, to give the Phillies an 8-3 lead. That would be the ballgame as Clay Condrey would come in to pitch a scoreless ninth, although he would give up a walk and then a single before recording the final out of the Phillies’ 2008 regular season by getting Emilio Bonifacio to ground out, 3-1.
Kyle Kendrick, the surprise starter, would get a no-decision as he pitches four innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits. Kendrick, who is not on the Phils’ post-season roster, will now be sent down to the Florida Instructional League to rebuild his confidence in his pitches as well as being taught two more pitches to help compliment his slider, before he comes back to join the team for spring training 2009. Les Walrond would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up two hits as he struck out four. His record is now 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA. J.A. Happ would pitch one and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief, giving up two hits as he struck out three. Rudy Seanez would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only batter he would face. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up a hit and a walk. Odalis Perez would get the lost, as he is only able to pitch three and two-thirds inning, leaving the game early because of a possible injury and with the Nats not taking any chances with his career, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on eight hits while striking out five. His record is now 7-12 with an ERA of 4.34. Shairon Martis would pitch two innings and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits while striking out three. Marco Estrada would pitch two innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on three hits.
The Phillies (92-70) would end the year with a sweep of the Nationals, winning the third game of the series with rookies and bench players, although two of the regulars, Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard would both come up to bat as pinch hitters, both getting singles and both scoring. Among the bench players, So Taguchi would lead the way by going 3 for 5, getting a triple, knocking in three runs while scoring one. Eric Bruntlett and Tadahito Iguchi would be next as they each went two for five, with Bruntlett knocking in a run and scoring one. Geoff Jenkins would be the other bench player who would get a hit. The only one among the rookies with a good day would be Lou Marson, who would go 2 for 4, getting his first major league career hit, a single, score his first run, knock in his first RBI and hit his first home run of his career, all in the same game. He also threw out his first base stealer of his career, as he caught the Nationals’ Emilio Bonifacio when he overslid second base on a steal attempt, tagged out by Iguchi when he tried to put his foot back on the bag. Also, all three pinch hitters that the Phillies would send up to the plate would hit safely as Matt Stairs would add a solo home run to Werth and Ryan’s singles. The victory gives the Phillies the second best record in the National League, beind the Central Division Champions Chicago Cubs, and the fifth in the majors, behind the American League Western Division Chmpions Los Angeles Angles, the American League Eastern Division Champions Tampa Bay Rays and the American League Wild Card Winner and Current World Champions Boston Red Sox.
The Phillies ended the season in first place in the National League Eastern Division, with a record of 92-70 for a winning percentage of .568, ending twelve wins over .500. They ended up being three games ahead of the Mets, who ended up with a record of 89-73 .559, seven and a half games ahead of the Marlins, who ended up with a record of 84-77 .522, twenty games ahead of the Braves, who ended up with a record of 72-90 .444 and thirty-two and a half games ahead of the Nationals, who ended up with a record of 59-102 .366.
The Phillies will now have today and tomorrow to rest up before they get ready to face the Wild Card Winner Milwaukee Brewers for a five games National League Divisional Series, which will start in Philadelphia on Wednesday.
It is now the first of August and the start of the dog days of summer, before we enter the period known as the September pennant races. At the moment, the Philles are leading the National League East, holding a slim one game lead over a resurgent New York Mets squad. How are Charlie Manuel’s boys doing it at the moment/ Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we?
First, by months. Everybody knows that for the last few seasons people have kept saying that this team needed to win games early in the season, to get a quick start, if they wanted to be in contention for the pennant during September. Well, have they? In fact, they have:
As can be seen, the team has won three of the four months, with their best month being May, and their worst being June, which coincided with their bad spell of Interleague play. More on that later.
Another thing that people have said is that you need to win series to stay in contention, and the Phillies so far have also done that. At the moment, they have won 17 series, lost 13 and have tied 4. Of those 17 series wins, they have won all of the games (sweep) in five of them (Colorado (2), Atlanta (2), Washington (1)) while they have been swept only once (Los Angeles (AL)).
Another thing that you need to do is to lead in your division. And the Phillies have also done that, believe it or not. In fact, they have done pretty well against both their own division and the other two divisions in the National League:
National League East: 24-19
National League Central: 17-12
National League West: 14-7
Unfortunately, they have not done well this season against teams from the American League, going 4-11 in Interleague play.
But, how have they done against other clubs in the National League? For the most part, they presently have losing records with only two teams, both of them being in their division:
National League East:
Atlanta Braves: 10-2
Washington Nationals: 6-3
Florida Marlins: 4-5
New York Mets: 4-9
It is quite obvious that they would have to beat the pants off of both the Mets and the Marlins, whom they will meet for a total of 14 games during the last two months of the season, for the Phillies to gain complete control of the division. They also have 15 games left with the Nationals and the Braves.
National League Central:
Cincinnati Reds: 5-3
Houston Astros: 4-3
St. Louis Cardinals: 3-3
Chicago Cubs: 2-1
Pittsburgh Pirates: 2-1
Milwaukee Brewers: 1-1
The Phillies have one more series each with the Cardinals (this weekend), the Cubs, the Pirates and the Brewers for a total of 14 games, which may be important towards the home stretch, especially the four games series against the Cubs in Chicago at the end of the month and the four games series with the Brew Crew at home in mid-September as part of a seven games home stand.
National League West:
Colorado Rockies: 5-0
Arizona Diamonbacks: 4-3
San Francisco Giants: 3-3
San Diego Padres: 2-1
Los Angeles Dodgers: 0-0
Against the West, the Phillies have only three series left, a three games series with the Padres and two four games sets with the Dodgers, that may become important games for both teams in their divisional pennant races later on this month, for a total of 11 games. With the addition of Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers via a deadline trade, the Phillies will probably be trying real hard to get at least a split with the Dodgers.
Last, and certainly not least, the Phillies did not do very well this year in Interleague play. Lets face it, they stank, as they went 2-4 against two teams in the American League East, and 2-7 against three teams from the American League West, while going 1-5 against two of the elite teams in the American League (Boston and Los Angeles Angels):
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 0-3
Toronto Blue Jays: 1-2
Boston Red Sox: 1-2
Oakland Athletics: 1-2
Texas Rangers: 1-2
With their record against American League teams in Interleague play, it means that this team, if it makes it to the playoffs and is able to get into the World Series, will have a problem defeating an American League ballclub, unless they are able to get some more pitching to help bolster the bullpen, or another strong bat either among the regulars or on the bench. Of course, that’s just my opinion. I have no idea what the cheapo owners of this team thinks on extra help.
The Phillies overall record of 59-49 is the fourth best in the National League. The Phillies will probably need to win their division to get into the playoffs, since the Cardinals and Brewers have better records than they do as they presently lead the way in the Wild Card race. The best way for the Phillies to win their division is to start winning series with the Mets and the Marlins, especially against the Mets, whom they have five more games left to play, while they have nine more games to play with the fish, starting this coming Tuesday at home. If they can take care of business with those two teams, especially during the September stretch run, the only real team they will have left to worry about afterwards is the Nationals, since the Nationals will at that point be trying to play the spolier role, especially since they will be playing the Phillies in Philadelphia during the last weekend of the season. Keep your fingers crossed people, it’s going to be a real bumpy last two months of the season.