The Phillies (83-67) go to Atlanta for the start of their last road trip to the South as they face the fourth place Braves (67-83), who are now in a role they have not been in since the late ’80s, that of spolier. The Phillies, thank to the Nationals’ defeat of the Mets last night, are now just a half game out of first in the East as well as tied for the Wild Card lead with the Brewers, who yesterday have fired their manager Ned Yost and have replaced him with third base coach Dale Sveum. The three games series will be played at Turner Field and the first game of the series will start there tonight at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will start this important series with their ageless veteran Jamie Moyer (14-7, 3.68) on the mound, who is coming off a win against Milwaukee on September 11, where he would pitch five and two-thirds innings, giving up only three earned runs on four scattered hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. Moyer has won four of his last six starts, with the Phils going 1-1 in his two no-decisions. He has given up three runs or less in seventeen of his last eighteen starts. He will be going for his team leading fifteenth victory while trying to put the Phillies on the winning track for the last leg of the pennant race. The Braves will counter with the rookie James Parr (1-0, 0.00), who is coming off a no-decision in his second career start against the Rockies on September 10, going six innings, giving up no earned runs on five hits, in the Braves’ 9-5 win. He will be trying for his second career win in three starts and hoping that the Phillies’ bat will be unable to score on him, since this will be the first time that he will face them.
The Phillies’ offense seems to have come alive this past weekend, with Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard seeming to have returned to their September 2007 forms to lead the offensive attack. Pat Burrell also appears to finally be breaking out of his slump. If the offense can stay hot during the next twelve games and the starters can continue to pitch the way they have pitched for the last several weeks, the Phillies should have no problem grabbing either the Eastern Division or the Wild Card at the end of the month. Everything just now depends on the Phillies taking care of business.
The Phillies are now trailing the Mets by a half game in the East as they continue their four games series with the Nationals. The Phillies are now ahead of the Marlins by five and a half games as the fish prepare for their three games series with the Astros. In the Wild Card chase, the Phillies are tied with the slumping Brewers for the lead in the wild card as the Brewers prepare for an important three games series with the Central Division leading Cubs. Both the Phillies and the Brewers are now two and a half games ahead of the Astros as they prepare to visit the Marlins, and are now four and a half games ahead of the Cardinals, who are preparing to play a three games series with the Reds. The Phillies are right now in the driver seat, determing whether they will be the winner in the Eastern Division or the winner of the Wild Card. Either way, Go PHILLIES!!!!
Behind the two-hit pitching of Brett Myers, the Phillies have completed the destruction of the slumping Brewers, getting a share of the lead in the NL Wild Card race while putting themselves a game behind the Mets in the East. The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first when, with runners on first and third, and no one out, Chase Utley would hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Jayson Werth at second, who has earlier singled, while scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier doubled and would go to third on Werth’s single. The Phillies would break the game open in the second as, with runners on the corners and two men out, Phillies’ starter Brett Myers would get a RBI single, knocking in Pat Burrell, who has earlier walked, went to second on Shane Victorino’s single and then moved to third on Pedro Feliz’s 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Victorino at second, to increase the Phillies’ lead to 2-0, while sending Chris Coste, who has been intentionally walked to get to Myers, to second. After a wild pitch by Brewers’ starter Jeff Suppan would place Coste and Myers on third and second respectively, Rollins would follow with a two-run single, scoring both Coste and Myers, who would just beat Jason Kendall’s tag at home plate, to give the Phillies a 4-0 lead. The Phillies would add to their lead in the fourth as Burrell lead-off the inning with a solo home run, his thirty-first home run of the year, making it 5-0 Phillies. Six batters later, with the bases loaded via a double (Victorino), a hit batsman (Coste) and an intentional walk (Rollins, after Myers would sacrifice both Victorino and Coste over to third and second respectively), and with two men out, Werth would bring in the Phils’ final run with a walk, forcing in Victorino, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. That would be it for Suppan as Brewers’ manager Ned Yost would take him out for Tim Dillard, who would end the inning by getting Utley to pop out. Meantime, Myers would breeze along, getting the Brewers out almost with ease, while keeping his pitch count low, allowing only two men on base, via a walk (Craig Counsell, who would later be wiped out on a 6-4-3 double play by Kendall) in the third, and a single (Ray Durham) in the fourth. He would only make one mistake as he would give up a solo home run to Prince Fielder in the seventh on a 3-2 slider, Fielder’s thirtieth home run of the year, with two men out, which would make it a 6-1 Phillies’ lead. But that would be the best that the Brewers would be able to do against Myers as he would get out the next seven batters with ease, pitching a complete game.
Myers would pick up the win as he pitches a complete game, giving up just one earned run on two hits and a walk, while striking out four. His record is now 10-11 with his ERA dropping to 4.05. Jeff Suppan would receive the lost, giving up all six runs, all earned, on eight hits and four walks as he is only able to last three and two-thirds innings. Suppan’s record is now 10-9 with a 4.85 ERA. Tim Dillard, Seth McClung and Todd Coffey would all combine to pitch four and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up just three hits (Dillard (1), Coffey (2)).
The Phillies have done what would’ve been impossible a few weeks earlier. They have beaten the ever dangerous Brewers, putting themselves in a tie with them for first place in the NL Wild Card while placing themselves just a game behind the Mets in the pennant race for the Eastern Division, and doing it with a couple of starters who would both be pitching with only three days rest (Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers), a third who was not pitching as advertised (Joe Blanton), while the team’s ace would be recovering from a beating in his previous start against their main rival in the East (Cole Hamels), while the team’s fifth starter have finally fallen apart in his last start (Kyle Kendrick), forcing the three days rest situations for both Moyer and Myers. Now, with the sweep completed and with the day off, the Phillies’ starting rotation and the bull pen looks to be in a lot stronger position for the final twelve games of the season then they did when Kendrick was getting spanked by the Marlins on September 9. Everything now depends on the offense not reverting back to the old inconsistencies if they want to get into the playoffs as either the NL Eastern Division Champ for the second straight season, or as the NL Wild Card entrance. We will all know the answer on September 28.
The Phillies, with the sweep, are now trailing the Mets by only a game in the East, as the Mets lost to the Braves. The Mets will now start a four games series against the Nationals in Washington. The Phillies now lead the Marlins by five and a half games as the fish defeated the Nationals. The Marlins will now have the day off, before they start a three games series with the Astros in Miami. In the wild card race, the reeling Brewers will also have the day off before they start an important three games series with the Cubs in Chicago, trying to regain their composure after getting swept by the Phillies. The Phillies, along with the Brewers, are now two games ahead of the Astros, who lost last night to the Cubs, as they got caught in the wrong end of a no hitter. They are presently playing the second of the two games with the Cubs that was rained out by Hurricane Ivan, and are presently trailing. The Phillies and Brewers are now four and a half games ahead of the Cardinals after their lost to the Pirates. The redbirds will have the day off today before they face the Reds for three in Cincinnati starting tomorrow. The Phillies have today off before they start a three games series in Atlanta, hoping that they can sweep their third straight series in Atlanta against the Braves.