Tagged: Pennant Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philadelphia Phillies – Years 1-6: Addenum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 5: Attempting to clinch a playoff spot with Cole Hamels on the mound.

The Phillies (89-68) will continue their three games series with the fourth place Braves (69-86) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (14-9, 3.10), who is coming off a win against these same Braves on September 18, where he went six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. Hamel will be trying for his fifteenth win of the year while trying to secure a playoff spot for the Phillies with a good outing tonight. The Braves’ starter will be Mike Hampton (2-3, 5.05), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies, also on September 18, as he would go seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, in the Braves’ 4-3 lost. This will be his third start this year against the Phillies, as he sports an 0-1 record, with a no-decision. He will be trying to hold off the Phillies going into the playoff for one more night.

The Phillies just need to continue to do what they have been doing during their last eleven games: hitting the ball, scoring runs early, scoring them often, getting clutch hits, having good starting pitching and getting good efforts from the bullpen, and using their gloves to stop opponents’ rallies. All aspects of the team’s game seems to be jelling at the same time, which is good, considering how long it took for all of them to come together in the first place. I’m getting that 1980 feeling folks. Too bad I’m not that same college sophmore going to the local Penn State campus near Media, PA, wondering if the Phillies can catch up with the division leading Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) before their final trip up to Montreal where they would win the Eastern Division in a wild final series. Hopefully, the Phillies won’t have to clinch the division against Montreal’s descendants, the Nationals, again. But, if they have to, the team has better just be ready to crush them but good. 🙂

The Phillies are now leading the Mets by two and a half games, as the Mets prepare to once again face the Cubs. The magic number to win the National League East is now set at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead over the Brewers is now at a game, as the Brewers prepare to play Pirates for three games, while their lead over the Astros is at three and a half games as they get ready to face the Reds for three. The Phillies will be trying to win tonight’s game to guarantee themselves a spot in the playoffs, while trying to see if they can get Cole Hamels his fifteenth win of the season.

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

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

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

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