Tagged: Pennant Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 12: Ryan Howard’s home run is the different in a wild game in Atlanta as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 8-7. Phils once again lead in the Eastern Division.

In a wild game in Atlanta, a Ryan Howard home run would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Braves, 8-7. A Mets lost to the Nationals would put the Phils back into first place in the National League East by a half game. The Phillies would take the lead in the third as, with one man out and with a runner on second, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has gotten on base earlier with a double, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. This would be the first run to be scored off of Braves’ starter rookie James Parr in three starts. The Phillies would make it a 3-0 lead as Jayson Werth would follow with a two-run home run, his career high twenty-third home run of the year, scoring Utley. Ryan Howard would then follow with a single. After Pat Burrell strikes out for the inning’s second out, Shane Victorino would follow with a double. Unfortunaltely, Howard would be thrown out at the plate trying to score on a good throw from Braves’ right fielder Jeff Francoeur to second baseman Martin Prado to catcher Brian McCann, who would supply the tag on Howard for the final out of the inning. The Braves would come back in their half of the third as Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer would have the first of his two bad innings of the night. After striking out Parr for the inning’s first out, Moyer would hit Josh Anderson, sending him to first. Anderson would then move up to second on a Moyer’s wild pitch. Moyer would then walk Prado, putting men on first and second with one out. Chipper Jones would then follow with a single, loading up the bases. McCann would then hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-1, while leaving the bases loaded as Prado and Jones would each move up only one base. Moyer would then strike out Omar Infante for the inning’s second out. Casey Kotchman would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Prado and Jones, tying up the game at three all, while moving McCann up to third. Moyer would finally get out of the inning by getting Francoeur to fly out. The Phillies would retake the lead in the fourth as, with one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a solo home run, his fourth home run of the year, making it 4-3 Phillies. The Phils would then threaten to score again in the fifth as Werth and Howard would both single with one out, putting runners on first and second. Bobby Cox would then come out to remove Parr and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would proceed to strike out Burrell for the inning’s second out, then get Victorino to ground out 3-1 to end the threat. In the sixth, Moyer would have the second of his bad innings. After getting Kotchman to ground out, 4 to 3, for the inning’s first out, Moyer would give up a single to Francoeur. Moyer would then walk both Brent Lillibridge and pinch hitter Greg Norton to load the bases. Anderson would then hit a sharp ball towards first that would be caught by Howard who would then beat Anderson to the bag for the inning’s second out, as Francoeur scored, tying the game at four runs apiece, while moving both Lillibridge and Norton up a base. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Moyer, replacing him with Chad Durbin to try and put out the fire. Sadly, Durbin would be unable to do so, as he would give up a single to pinch hitter Kelly Johnson, knocking in both Lillibridge and Norton, giving the Braves a 6-4 lead, while Johnson would go to second on Victorino’s throw to the plate that would bounce off the mound, allowing Johnson to move up a base. That would come back to haunt the Phillies later in the inning, as, after Durbin intentionally walks Jones, Manuel would come back out to replace him with Scott Eyre to face McCann. That move wouldn’t work as McCann would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, making it now 7-4 Braves, while sending Jones to second. Eyre would finally end the inning by getting Infante to hit into a force out, 6-4. The Phillies would strike back in the seventh, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Howard would hit a deep fly ball to left that would be misplayed by Infante, thus becoming a RBI triple, while scoring Werth, who has earlier singled, cutting the Braves’ lead to 7-5. Cox would then come out and replace Jeff Bennett with Will Ohman. After striking out Burrell for the inning’s second out, Ohman would give up a RBI single to Victorino, scoring Howard and making it a 7-6 Braves’ lead. Pedro Feliz would then reach base on a throwing error by shortstop Lillibridge, as he threw the base past Prado on a force out attempt, allowing Victorino to reach second. But after Ohman walks pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to load the bases, he would finally end the inning by getting pinch hitter Matt Stairs to ground out, 3 to 1. The Phillies would then retake the lead for good in the eighth, as with a runner on first with two outs, Howard would hit his major league leading forty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead. In the ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge for the save. But, it would not be easy. Lidge would start off the inning by walking Jones. Lidge would then get McCann to pop out to Utley under the Infield Fly Rule, although Utley would pretend to miss the ball, to try for a force out, but the umpire wouldn’t go for it. The next batter, Infante, would then hit a sharp ground ball to Feliz. Although hit hard enough for a double play ball, Feliz would only have one play, to first, throwing out Infante, as Jones was running on the play, reaching second safely. Lidge would then proceed to walk both Kotchman and Francoeur to load the bases, with two men out, for Gregor Blanco. Lidge would then strike out Blanco swinging on a 2-2 slider, ending the game as he finally records his thirty-seventh save in thirty-seven tries.

Jamie Moyer would get a no-decision, as he would goes five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits while walking four and striking out six, as he would have two very bad innings that would hurt him. Chad Durbin would pitch to two batters, getting neither of them out, as he gives up an earned run on a hit and walks a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Ryan Madson would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while striking out three. His record is now 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, although he would give up three walks while striking out one as he records his thirty-seventh save of the year. James Parr would also get a no-decision, as he is able to last only four and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on ten hits. Buddy Carlyle would pitch an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief, giving up no hits while striking out two. Will Ohman would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Jeff Bennett would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on a hit. Julian Tavarez would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on no hits and a walk. Mike Gonzalez would get the lost as he receives his second blown save of the year as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up an earned run, Ryan Howard’s home run, on one hit. His record is now 0-3 with a 4.25 ERA. Jorge Julio would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits while walking a batter as he struck out the side. 

Two bad innings almost did in Jamie Moyer and the Phillies as Moyer would lose control of his stuff in both the third and the sixth innings, giving up three runs in both, as he gave up in those two innings four singles and four walks, along with a hit batsman. But this time the offense would refuse to die, thanks to Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins. The game’s star, a red hot Howard, would be a double short of hitting the cycle, as he went four for five, getting two singles, a triple and a home run, knocking in three runs while scoring two. Victorino would follow by going three for five with two singles and a double, knocking in a run. Jayson Werth would be next as he went three for four, getting two singles and a home run, knocking in two runs while scoring three. Jimmy Rollins would go two for five with a single and a double, scoring a run. Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley would also contribute with a home run (Ruiz) and a RBI double (Utley). The only ones who would not contribute would be Pedro Feliz, who would get on base with a walk, and Shane Victorino would go 0 for five, striking out all five times. In a fourteen hit attack, half of the hits would be for extra-bases (2B (3), 3B (1), HR (3)), showing that the Phillies’ offense, in general, is hot at the moment, a situation that will hopefully last to the end of the year.

The once again first place Phillies (84-67) will play the second of their three games against the fourth place Braves (67-84) tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound, in place of the presently ineffective Kyle Kendrick, rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 5.71), who will be making his third start for the Phillies, still looking for his first major league win. His last appearance was in relief against the Marlins on September 9, as he would pitch three and a third innings in relief of Kendrick, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 10-8 lost. His last start was a no-decision on July 9 against the Cardinals, where he went six and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 win. The Phillies have won both of his starts, although he would receive no-decisions in both games. He will be trying for his first win while trying to keep the Phils in first place as he face the Braves for the first time in his short major league career. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on September 11, where he went six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 8-4 win. He has faced the Phillies two previous times, winning his last meeting against them on July 25, as he went eight innings, giving up no runs on just three hits, in the Braves’ 8-2 win. His record this year against the Phillies is 1-1. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to put an end to the Phillies’ seven games winning streak at Turner Field.

With the win, the Phillies jump back into first place, a half game ahead of the Mets who lost last night, 1-0, to the Nationals. They are still five and a half games over the Marlins, who defeated the Astros. The Phillies’ win and the Mets lost would put the Mets back into the Wild Card race, where they now have a half game lead over the Brewers, after their lost to the Cubs, who are out to clinch the National League Central Division this week. With eleven games left in the season, the Phillies are out to extend their present winning streak to six games and their winning streak at Turner Field to eight games, while hoping to extend their lead over the Mets in the East.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 12: Going to Atlanta, looking at both the East and the Wild Card.

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!!!!

Tropical Storm Hannah forces postponement; Phillies to face the Mets tomorrow in a day-night doubleheader, hoping for a sweep of the final series between the two teams at Shea Stadium.

Thanks to the appearance of Tropical Storn Hannah on the East Coast of the U.S., the Saturday afternoon game between the Phillies (77-64) and the Mets (79-62) has been postponed. Instead, the two contenders for the National League East will be playing a day-night doubleheader in Shea Stadium tomorrow. These will be the final games to be played between these two rivals in Shea Stadium.

The first game of the twinbill will start at 2:15 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be the 45-years old veteran Jamie Moyer (12-7, 3.80), who is coming off a win against the Cubs on August 31, where he went five and a third innings, giving up only two earned runs on eight hits (all singles), in the Phillies’ 5-3 win. Moyer has given up three runs or less in fifteen of his last sixteen starts, and plans to make it sixteen in his last seventeen, while planning to improve on his 1-1, 4.40 ERA in five starts record against the Mets. Moyer will be trying for his team leading thirtenth victory while hoping to shut down the Mets’ bats, redeeming himself for being roughed up by the Mets on August 26, only going three innings as he gave up six earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 8-7 dramatic, come from behind, extra-innings win. The Mets will be sending to the mound Pedro Martinez (5-3, 5.07), who is coming off a win against the Marlins on August 31, where he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, in the Mets’ 6-2 win. In his last start against the Phillies, also on August 26, Martinez would get a no-decision as he is forced out of the game early, as he goes only five innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, in the Mets’ 8-7 extra-innings lost. Martinez is 3-2 against the Phils since joining the Mets in 2005. His will be trying to improve his record while trying to last a bit longer than he did a week ago.

The second game of the doubleheader will be a battle between team aces that will be televised nationally on ESPN. The game will begin at 8:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Cole Hamels (12-8, 3.01), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on September 2, as he went seven and one-third shut out innings, giving up five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-0 win. Hamels has won three of his last four starts, all of them quality starts, while being dominating in the two starts that were shown before a national audience. Like Moyer, he plans to win his thirteenth start, while trying to win his third straight start in the national spotlight. The Mets will counter with Johan Santana (12-7, 2.71), who is coming off a no-decision against the Brewers on September 1, as he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, in the Mets’ 4-2 win. In his last start against the Phillies on August 27 he, like Martinez, would leave the game early, receiving a no-decision as he went only six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Mets’ 6-3 come from behind win. His record against the Phillies in four previous starts is 1-0 with three no-decisions. He will be trying for his second win against the Phillies while trying to keep the Phillies’ offense quiet.

The Phillies’ batters will once again try to remain patient against both Martinez and Santana, forcing them into enough deep counts so that both men will have to leave their games early and will then try to dismantle the Mets’ bullpen. At the same time, the Phillies’ starters will try to pitch long enough into the game so that they will give the bullpen a much needed rest, while hoping that the deep end of the pen won’t create another eighth inning fiasco.

The Phillies trail the Mets by two games as they go into the double header tomorrow while they presently lead the Marlins by five games as the fish prepares to meet the Cardinals later tonight. In the wild card race, the Phillies now trail the slumping Brewers by four games, while they are ahead of the Cardinals by two, the Astros by three and the Marlins by five games. The Phillies hope to come back home trailing the Mets by no worst than two games, if not in fact tied for first place, before they face the Marlins for three games and the Brewers for four.

Hosting the Dodgers, hoping to avenge last week’s sweep.

The Phillies (68-59) will begin a four games series tonight with the Dodgers (65-62, 2nd National League West). The first game of the series will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (10-7, 5.01), who is coming off his second straight bad start against the Padres on August 16, where he is only able to go three and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 8-3 lost. His only start against the Dodgers this year, on August 11, would be an equally rough outing as he would only go three and a third innings, giving up seven earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 8-6 lost. He will be looking to rebound from those two loses, trying to regain his agressiveness and trying to knot his eleventh win of the season. His opponent, returning like a horror film nightmare, is Phillies’ killer Greg Maddux (6-9, 3.99), who has just been acquired by the Dodgers to take the place of injured starter Brad Penny. His last start before being traded was against the Phillies for the Padres on August 15, where he would pitch seven innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, in the Padres’ 1-0 lost. This would be his first start as a Dodgers, but he has already faced the Phillies in two starts for the Padres, going 0-2 as he would pitch thirteen and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on thirteen hits. He will be trying for his first win this year against the Philles while trying to make it five straight wins against the Phillies for the Dodgers.

The Phillies will be trying to even up the season series with the Dodgers while trying to keep pace with the now streaking Mets, hoping that the offense will finally click in, while hoping that neither the defense or the bullpen is starting to show the strain of the 162 games grind. At the moment, the only ones among the Phillies’ bats who are still hitting are Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, Greg Dobbs, Chris Coste, and as a surprise, Carlos Ruiz, who has started to contribute. And it would appears that Chase Utley’s bat might be waking up as well after a 2 for 3 performance, including a RBI single. But as long as Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell’s bats remains silent, the Phillies are going to continue having a tough time scoring runs.

The Phillies trails the Mets by two and a half games, as they host the Astros for four games, while the Phils are ahead of the now fading Marlins, who will be going to Phoenix to face the Diamondbacks for three games. The Phillies hope to put together a string of victories to put some pressure on the Mets like they did this time last year, but time for the offense to start busting out is slowly running out as the Phils have only 35 games left to play in the season, and twenty of their next twenty-three games will be against teams who are either divisional leaders or are involved in either pennant races or the race for the wild card. Time seems to be not on their side.