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2008 World Series: Game 2: Inability to knock in men in scoring position do in the Phillies as they fall to the Rays, 4-2. Series come to Philadelphia tied at a game apiece.

The inability to knock in runs with men in scoring position in the first seven innings would waste a good effort by Brett Myers as the Phillies would lose to the Rays, 4-3. The lost would tie the series up at a win apiece as the series will now come to Philadelphia for three games. The Rays would score first in the first, as Carlos Pena would hit a RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Akinori Iwamura, who has earlier walked and would go to third on B.J. Upton’s single, giving the Rays a 1-0 lead. An Evan Longoria ground out, also 6-3, would make it 2-0 Rays, as it would score Upton, who has singled, would go to second on Jayson Werth’s fielding error as he would take his eye off the ball as he looked to see what Iwamura was going to do on the single, and has moved up to third on Pena’s earlier ground out. The Phillies would threaten to come back in the second as they would put runners on third and second via a double (Ryan Howard), a walk (Pat Burrell) and a wild pitch, with only one out, but Rays’ starter James Shields would get out of the inning by first striking out Greg Dobbs looking and then getting Pedro Feliz out on a liner to center field. The Rays would add to their lead in the second, as, with the bases loaded via a single (Dioner Navarro), a walk (Rocco Baldelli (on what should have been strike three swinging since he had swung through the pitch and was originally called out by the home plate umpire Kerwin Danley, but who would then reverse his call after calling for help from the first base umpire Fieldin Culbreth, who would claim that there was actually no swing by Baldelli)) and a second single (Jason Bartlett), and two men out, Upton would hit a RBI single to right, scoring Navarro, making it 3-0 Rays. But, the following runner, Baldelli, would then be tagged out at home plate as Werth would throw a strike to Carlos Ruiz, who would then block the plate and successfully tag out Baldelli to end the inning. The Phillies would threaten again in the third as they would put a runner on third (Ruiz) via a double and a Jimmy Rollins’ ground out, 4-3. But, they would once again be left empty handed as Shields would get out of the inning by first striking out Werth swinging and then getting Utley to ground out, 4-3. The Phillies would try once again to score a run in the fourth, as they would put runners on the corners via a single to Howard and a single to Shane Victorino, which would send Howard on to third base, as it would go off of Rays’ first baseman Pena’s glove, saving a run for the moment. But once again the Phillies would be unable to score as Shields would strike out Dobbs again, this time swinging, for the inning’s second out, and then get Feliz to this time ground out, 5-3, ending the inning. The Rays would add a fourth run in their half of the fourth, as with runners on the corners and one out, Bartlett would knock in Cliff Floyd, who has earlier singled, moved to second on Navarro’s single and then moved on to third on Baldelli’s force out, cutting down Navarro at second, using a safety squeeze for out number two, 1-3. Brett Myers would then end the inning by getting Iwamura to ground out, 4-3. After that Myers would then gain control of the Rays during his last three innings of work, only giving up a walk and a single. Meanwhile, the Phillies would continue to threaten to score. They would get runners on first and second in the fifth, via a walk (Ruiz, who would then be forced out at second on a grounder by Rollins, 3-6) and a single (Werth), with one man out. But the inning would end as Werth would commit a base running blunder by straying too far off of first base on a Chase Utley fly out to right field, as he is quickly doubled up on a throw from Rays’ right fielder Baldelli to Pena. The Philles would try once more in the sixth, getting two men on via singles to Victornio and Dobbs, with the later’s hit sending Victornio to third, with two men out. But the inning would end as Rays’ reliever Dan Wheeler, pitching in relief of Shields, would get Feliz to once more ground out, this time a 5-4 force out as Dobbs is wiped out at second base. The Phillies would go at it again as they would put runners on second (Ruiz (walk and stolen base)) and first (Utley (walk)) with two men out. But Rays’ closer David Price would end the inning by striking out Howard looking. The Phillies would finally score a run in the eighth, as, with two men out, Eric Bruntlett would hit a pinch hit solo home run, cutting the Rays’ lead down to 4-1. After J.C. Romero would come in and pitch a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, the Phillies would make one more attempt to get back into the game in the top of the ninth. Ruiz would start off the inning with a double. Rollins, on a 0-1 pitch from Price, would get part of his uniform hit by Price’s pitch. But, home plate umpire Kerwin Danley would instead claim that Rollins wasn’t touched by the pitch. Rollins, after getting the count full, would then pop up to second for the inning’s first out. Werth would then follow with a sharp grounder to Rays’ third baseman Longoria, who would be unable to play the ball, as it would bounce off of his glove and head towards center field, allowing Ruiz to score, making it 4-2 Ray, and Werth to reach first on the error. But, Price would then end the Phillies’ hopes as he would strike out Utley swinging and then get Howard to ground out to first base to end the game.

Brett Myers would get the lost as he would pitch seven innings, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on seven hits and three walks, while strking out two. His series’ record is now 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. James Shields would get the win as he would pitch a superb five and two-thirds inning, giving up no earned runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out four. His series’ record is now 1-0 with an 0.00 ERA. Dan Wheeler would pitch a scoreless inning of relief, giving up no hits and a walk, while striking out two. David Price would pitch two and a third innings of relief, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and a walk, while striking out two.

The Phillies’ season long achillies’ heel, being unable to knock in runners in scoring position, would hurt the Phils with avengence last night, as they would end up leaving eleven men on base, being unable to knock in runners in the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, especially with less than two outs, because of the batters’ inability to either get a key hit, hit the ball to the right side, or to just hit the ball deep into the outfield for a sacrifice fly. This would end up ruining a somewhat good performance by Brett Myers who, despite giving up four runs, might not have given up that many runs if not for Jayson Werth’s fielding error in the first inning, allowing B.J. Upton to reach second, and the yes it’s a swing, wait a minute it wasn’t a swing call by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley, in the second. If not for that boot and that bad call by the umpire, the game might have been a lot closer, even with the Phillies’ offense inability to score a run in the first seven innings. If there is any silver lining in this lost, it is that Ryan Howard might have finally gotten out of his slump, as he would go 2 for 5 with a double and a single, although he would also strike out in one at-bat with men in scoring position. At least he was able to hit the ball last night, unlike the first game. Anyway, the Phillies will now head for home, having left Tampa Bay with a spilt, and now preparing to defeat the Rays in three straight games at home in what will obviously be a very noisy Citizens Bank Park.

The third game of the 2008 World Series will be played tomorrow night in Citizens Bank Park. The game is scheduled to start at 8:22 pm Easten time. The Phillies starter with be Jamie Moyer (0-0, -.–), who will be coming off a bad start against the Dodgers on October 12 in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, where he was only able to pitch an inning and a third, as he gave up six earned runs on six hits, while striking out two, in the Phillies’ 7-2 lost. In the post-season, he has a record of 0-2 with an ERA of 13.50, as he pitched only five and one-third innings, giving up eight earned runs on ten hits and three walks, while striking only five. His regular season record was 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in thirty-three starts, as he would give up 85 runs, 81 of which were earned on 199 hits and 62 walks, while striking out 123 batters in 196 and one-third innings of work. Moyer will be trying to regain his late season form, going through a large number of innings while giving up very few runs, hoping to give the Phillies a 2-1 series lead over the much younger Rays, planning to use his experience against their youth. The Rays will counter with Matt Garza (0-0, -.–), who will be coming off a victory against the Red Sox on October 19, as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up only one earned run on two hits and three walks, while striking out nine, in the Rays’ 3-1 win over the Red Sox, clinching the pennant and winning himself the American League Championship Series MVP. In the post-season, Garza’s record is 2-1 with an ERA of 3.32, as he would pitch nineteen innings, giving up seven earned runs on fifteen hits and ten walks, while striking out eighteen. During the regular season, his record was 11-9 with an ERA of 3.70 in thirty starts, as he gave up 83 runs, 76 of which were earned on 170 hits and 59 walks, while he struck out 128 batters in 184 and two-thirds innings. He will try to be as dominant against the Phillies’ batters as he was in his two starts against the Red Sox.

The key for the Phillies tomorrow will be for Jamie Moyer to regain his regular form, using his experience and his wit against a bunch of young guns who will probably be expecting to feast on his slow stuff. If he does, the Rays’ batters will be in for a long night. At the same time, the Phillies’ offense needs to rebound and starts knocking in runners in key situations by using both patient and strategic hitting. They may be force to have to use plays like the suicide and safety squeeze, like the Rays did in the fourth inning last night, to push runs across the plate when they have less than two men outs and a runner on third. It might look cheap, but if it’ll help to jump start the offense, then they should use it. Another key is once again for Jimmy Rollins to get on base in anyway he can, and for him to stop swinging at high fastballs. If that would require him to change his stance, then change his stance. At the moment, he is not catching up with those pitches. And lastly, Ryan Howard needs to continue what he did last night, as he is way over due for an offensive break out. He can only be held down for so long before he start to make someone pay for it. Hopefully, it’ll be the Rays and the payback will start tomorrow night.

GO PHILLIES!!!

2008 World Series: Game 1: The Phillies takes a 1-0 lead behind the strong pitching of Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from the bullpen as they defeated the Rays, 3-2.

Seven strong innings from Cole Hamels and two shut out innings from Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Rays, 3-2, to take the first game of the World Series. The Phils would jump into the lead in the top of the first, when, with a runner on first and one man out, Chase Utley would hit a two-run home run into the right field seats, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Phillies would threaten to increase their lead in the second, when, with the bases loaded via a single (Shane Victorino) and two walks (Pedro Feliz and Carlos Ruiz) and with one man out, Victorino would try to score on a shallow fly ball to left center field by Jimmy Rollins that was caught by Rays’ centerfielder B.J. Upton for the inning’s second out. Victornio, who would later admit that he ran home on a miscommunication with third base coach Steve Smith, who was telling him not to go home, would be tagged out at home plate by Rays’ catcher Dioner Navarro for the inning’s final out. In the top of the third, the Phillies would threaten to score again after Werth would reach third base via a lead-off double and a Utley ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s first out. But Rays’ starter Scott Kazmir would get out of the inning by getting first Ryan Howard and then Pat Burrell to strike out swinging. The Rays would then mount a threat of their own in their half of the third as they would load up the bases with only one out via two singles (Ben Zobrist and Akinori Iwamura) and a walk (Jason Bartlett). But Cole Hamels would end the threat by getting Upton to ground into a 5-4-3 double play on a sharp grounder hit to Feliz. The Phillies would finally add another run in the fourth as, with runners on second and third and one man out, Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move to second on Feliz’s single, and who would both move up a base on Chris Coste’s ground out to first, would cross the plate on Ruiz’s ground out, 6-3, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. The Rays would finally get on the scoreboard as, with two outs, Carl Crawford would hit a solo home run on a Hamels’ curveball, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 3-1. The Rays would then cut the Phils’ lead down further in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two men out, Iwamura would hit a RBI double, scoring Bartlett, who has earlier walked and then stole second, to make it a 3-2 Phillies’ lead. Hamels would then end the inning by getting Upton to foul out to Howard, who would make a spectular catch just inside the stands behind the first base foul line. The Rays would try to threaten again in the sixth as Howard would boot Carlos Pena’s ground ball for a fielding error. But, when Pena tried to steal second, he would be picked off by Hamels, who would throw over to Howard, who would then throw to Rollins, would would just barely tag out Pena for the inning’s first out, although the Rays’ bench would claim that Hamels had actually balked, a claim that first base umpire Kerwin Danley would ignore. Hamels would then proceed to strike out Evan Longoria and then get Crawford to ground out, 4-3, to end the inning. The Phillies would make another threat to score an extra run in the seventh, as, with runners on third (Utley (single, stolen base and wild pitch (J.P. Howell)) and first (Burrell (walk), who was then replaced by pinch runner Eric Bruntlett) and two outs, Rays’ reliever Grant Balfour, the second Rays’ reliever for the inning, would end the inning by striking out Victornio. Hamels’ seventh would be an easy eleven-pitch 1-2-3 inning. After the Phillies would go down 1-2-3 in the top of the eighth, Ryan Madson would come out in relief of Hamels and proceed to pitch a 1-2-3 inning of his own. In the Phillies’ ninth, the Phils would make one final attempt to get an insurance run as they would get runners on second (Werth (ground-rule double) and first (Utley (intentional walk)) and one out. But, the Rays would get out of the inning as first Howard would strike out looking and then Bruntlett would pop out to the second baseman. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to close it. Lidge would proceed to strike out Pena and Longoria on seven pitches before ending the game by getting Crawford to foul out to Feliz for the final out, recording the save.

Cole Hamels would get the win as he would pitch seven strong innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks, while striking out five. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and a 4-0 record in the post-season. Ryan Madson would pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Brad Lidge would also pitch a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two, as he would record his fifth save in the post-season and his forty-sixth save in forty-six tries. Scott Kazmir would receive the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out four. His series record is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.50. J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour, Trever Miller and Dan Wheeler would combine for three scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Howell and Balfour one hit apiece) and two walks (Howell and Balfour would each give up a walk), while striking out five (Howell and Balfour two each and Miller one).

The Phillies would win last night’s game thanks to the bullpen shutting down the Rays’ offense in the last two innings, while Cole Hamels, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would combine to get the last eleven Ray batters out, after Hamels had picked off Carlos Pena trying to steal second in the sixth inning. Speaking of the pick off, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon and the Rays’ bench all thought that Hamels had balked before he threw to first base after Pena had started to run towards second base. The first base umpire, Kerwin Danley, would ignore their argument, but before the start of the Phillies’ seventh, home plate umpire Tim Welke told Maddon that he would look into the matter. Quite frankly, I don’t know what the point of all this is. If it was a balk, Danley should’ve called it right then and there. I just hope this wasn’t an attempt by Maddon to influence things later in the series as it could backfire on his team since the umpires could decide to look closely at the pitchers of both teams when their pitchers throw towards first when there is someone on base who is a basestealing threat. I guess time will tell. Meanwhile, the Phillies offense would once again in the post-season be unable to hit an early knockout blow against their opponent as they would leave eleven men on base, thanks mainly to Ryan Howard being unable to stop chasing junk out of the strike zone. Hey big guy, lay off the junk pitches will you? As long as you keep swinging at them, they’re going to keep throwing them to you. Please follow Charlie Manuel’s advice, just relax at the plate and let the ball come to you. Even if it means hitting into an out, it’ll at least be a lot better than being made to look like a fool with your constant swing and misses at off-speed junk.

The 2008 World Series continues tonight with the series’ second game, being played tonight at Tropicana Field. The game will begin at 8:29 pm Easten time. The Phillies will send to the mound Brett Myers (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his victory over the Dodgers on October 10, where he went five innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out six, in the Phillies’ 8-5 win, thanks in part to his going 3 for 3 at the plate, knocking in three runs and scoring two. His post-season record is 2-0 with a 5.25 ERA, as he pitched twelve innings, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits and seven walks, while striking out ten. During the regular season, his record was 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA, as he pitched in thirty games, giving up 103 runs, 96 of which were earned, on 197 hits and 65 walks, while striking out 163 batters in 190 innings of work. But, he was a better pitcher in the second half, after his return from a minor league reassignment, as he would go 7-4 with two no-decisions. Myers will be pitching his first start on the road during the post-season, and hoping to stake the Phillies to a 2-0 lead in the series, while hoping to avoid a repeat of his last road start back on September 19 against the Marlins where he got bombed for ten earned runs. The Rays will be countering with James Shields (0-0, -.–), who is coming off his second straight bad start in the ALCS against the Red Sox on October 18, as he would last just five and two-third innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on nine hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Rays’ 4-2 lost. In the post-season, his record is 1-2 in three starts, as he would pitch ninteen and a third innings, giving up nine runs, eight of which were earned, on twenty-one hits and six walks, while striking out thirteen. His regular season record was 14-8 with a 3.56 ERA, as he would pitch in 33 games, going 215 innings, giving up 94 runs, 85 of which were earned, on 208 hits and 40 walks, while striking out 160. Shields will be going out to even the series at a game a piece, while trying to avoid getting hurt for the third straight game in the post-season. The Phillies will once again be trying to be patient with another Rays’ starter who have had even worst recent luck in the post-season than has last night’s starter Kazmir before striking the major blow, while hoping that Myers will be able to do well on the road for at least this game, before heading back home to the friendly confines of Citizens Bank Park and its very loud, screaming fans.

GO PHILLIES!!!

National League Championship Series: Game 4: Two eighth inning home runs by Shane Victorino and Matt Stairs lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Dodgers, giving them a three games to one lead in the NLCS.

Two two-run home runs by Shane Victorino and pinch hitter Matt Stairs in the eighth inning would help lead the Phillies to a 7-5 win over the Dodgers as the Phillies take a commanding three games to one lead over the Bums in the National League Championship Series. The Phillies jumped quickly on Dodgers’ starter Derek Lowe in the first inning, as, with runners on first and second and no one out, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled and has moved up to second on Jayson Werth’s single, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead, while sending Werth on to third. Ryan Howard, as he would make the inning’s first out, would make it 2-0 Phillies, as he would hit a RBI ground out to the right side, 4-3, scoring Werth, while sending Utley over to third. Pat Burrell would then follow with a walk, putting runners on the corners. Lowe would finally get out of the inning as he would get Shane Victorino to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Burrell at second. The Dodgers would get a run back in their half of the first, as, with runners on first and second and two men out, James Loney would hit a RBI double, scoring Rafael Furcal, who has earlier singled, and has moved on to second on Andre Ethier’s ground out, 4-3, to make it 2-1 Phils, while sending Manny Ramirez, who has earlier been intentionally walked by Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton, to third. Blanton would then get out of the inning as Blake DeWitt would line out to Howard. That would remain the score until the bottom of the fifth as Lowe would calm down, while Blanton would constantly pitch himself out of jams. In the Dodgers’ fifth, the Dodgers would tie the game as, with two men on and no one out, Ramirez would hit a RBI single, scoring Furcal, who has earlier walked and has gone on to second on an Ethier’s single, while Ethier’s would reach third on Burrell’s late throw to the plate as Furcal is able to push his way through catcher’s Carlos Ruiz’s right leg. Ramirez would meanwhile move up to second on the throw, putting two men in scoring position. Blanton would then get Russell Martin to ground out, 6-3, for the inning’s first out, scoring Ethier on the play, to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead, while Ramirez would go back to second base. Blanton would then intentionally walk Loney to put runners on first and second with still one out. The strategy behind the move would work for the Phils, as the next batter, DeWitt, would hit into a 4-6-3 double play, ending the inning. After Lowe is taken out of the game by the Dodgers, the Phillies would then tie up the game in the sixth, as, with men on second and third, and with two men out, Howard, who has earlier walked, moved on to second on Burrell’s single and would move over to third on Victorino’s sacrifice bunt, would score on a Chan Ho Park’s wild pitch, while Burrell would move up to third. Park would then walk Ruiz to put runners on the corners. Dodgers’ manager Joe Torre would then come out of the Dodgers’ dugout and replace Park with Joe Beimel, after Geoff Jenkins is sent out as a pitch hitter. Jenkins is then replaced by So Taguchi, who would promptly end the inning by flying out to right. The Dodgers would retake the lead in their half of the sixth as Casey Blake would hit a lead-off home run off of Phillies’ reliever Chad Durbin, making it 4-3 Dodgers. Juan Pierre would then follow with a double. Durbin would then walk pinch hitter Matt Kemp, putting two men on base, still with no one out. Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel would then replace Durbin with Scott Eyre. Furcal would then attempt a sacrifice bunt. Howard would get the ball but would then commit a throwing error, throwing it past Utley, allowing Pierre to score, giving the Dodgers a 5-3 lead, while allowing Kent to go to third and Furcal to move up to second, with still no body out. Ethier would then line out to first for the inning’s first out. Then, on the key turning point of the game, Ramirez is then intentionally walked to load up the bases. After Eyre is replaced on the mound by Ryan Madson, he would help get the Phils out of the inning with no more damage as Martin would hit a line drive that is caught by Utley, who would then quickly tag second base with his glove, beating Furcal back to the bag, for an unassisted double play, leaving the score still 5-3 Dodgers. After turning back the Dodgers in the seventh, the Phillies would go to work on the Dodgers’ bullpen in the eighth, finally scoring some runs. Howard would start the inning off with a single. After Burrell pops up to second for the inning’s first out, Victorino would follow with a two-run bomb to right, scoring Howard, and tying the game up at five all. After Pedro Feliz would line out to left for the inning’s second out, Ruiz would get on base with a single. Torre would then come out and replace Cory Wade, who had given up the two-run shot to Victorino, with Joe Broxton, to face pitch hitter Matt Stairs. Stairs would work the count to 3-1 before he would hit a monster two-run home run of his own to right field, scoring Ruiz, and giving the Phillies a 7-5 lead. Rollins would then walk and steal second with Werth batting, before Werth would end the inning by striking out. In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies would send out J.C. Romero. After giving up a walk to Furcal, Romero would get Ethier to hit into a 6-4-3 double play, wiping out Furcal at second. Romero would then be replaced with Brad Lidge for a four-out save. It didn’t start out that way as Ramirez would get on base with a double. Martin would then follow with a strike out, which should’ve ended the inning, but didn’t, as it would get away from Ruiz, allowing Martin to reach first base while sending Ramirez over to third, putting runners on the corners. But Lidge would finally get out of the inning by getting Loney to fly out to left. In the ninth, Lidge would pitch an easy 1-2-3 inning, as he would first get pinch hitter Nomar Garciaparra to fly out to center for the first out, get Blake to strike out swinging for the second out and then end the game by getting Jeff Kent to fly out to Feliz for the final out, as he records his fifth save of the post-season.

Joe Blanton would get a no-decision as he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four. Chad Durbin would face only three batters, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on two hits and a walk. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Ryan Madson would get the win as he would pitch an inning and two-thirds, giving up no runs on one hit and a walk, while striking out one. His record in the series is now 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on one hit, while striking out two, as he would records his forty-sixth straight save in forty-six tries. Derek Lowe would also get a no-decision as he also goes only five innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out four. Clayton Kershaw would go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit and a walk. Chan Ho Park would get a blown save as he goes a third of an inning, giving up no runs on a walk and a wild pitch. Joe Beimel would also go a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Hong-Chih Kuo would go an inning plus one batter, giving up an earned run on a hit, while striking out two. Cory Wade would get a blown save and the lost as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. His record is now 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Jonathan Broxton would pitch an inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one.

The victory places the Phillies just one game away from getting into the World Series, as the offense is finally able to torch the Dodgers’ bullpen, getting five runs off of it thanks to a wild pitch and two two-run home runs. The bats would end up getting twelve hits over all, with all of the regulars getting at least one hit, with Chase Utley being the team leader, as he went three for five, knocking in a run on a double and two singles. Next was Carlos Ruiz, who went two for three, with two singles and a walk, scoring a run. Meanwhile, Joe Blanton would pitch five good innings, getting out of trouble constantly before finally being taken out for a pinch hitter. Although giving up two runs, the Phillies’ bullpen would hold firm for four innings, helped along by two double plays with Utley’s unassisted gem in the seventh being the more important of the two as it would get the Phillies out of a bases-loaded, one out jam. The Phillies now need just one more win to get into the World Series, with three chances within which to do it.

Game Five of the National League Championship Series will be played tomorrow night. It will be played in Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (1-0, 2.57), who is coming off a good start against the Dodgers in game one of the NLCS on October 9, where he would go six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight, in the Phillies’ 3-2 win. He will be trying to pitch the Phillies into their first World Series appearance since 1993 with a victory. The Dodgers will counter with Chad Billingsley (0-1, 27.00), who is coming off a very awful start in game two of the NLCS against the Phillies on October 10, as he would last only two and one third innings, giving up eight runs, only seven of which were earned, on eight hits and three walks, while striking out five, in the Dodgers’ 8-5 lost. He will be trying to pitch a better game tomorrow night while trying to keep the Dodgers in the playoff.

National League Championship Series: Game 3: Dodgers knock out Jamie Moyer early on their way to a 7-2 victory over the Phillies. Phillies now own a two games to one lead in the series.

The Dodgers came out smoking against Jamie Moyer, batting around in the first inning and scoring six runs off of him before he is finally removed in the second, as the Dodgers defeated the Fightins’, 7-2.

The Phillies lead in the National League Championship Series is now two games to one. The Dodgers attack Moyer early in the bottom of the first as Rafael Furcal would get on base with a single. Andre Ethier would follow with a single, moving Furcal to second base. Manny Ramirez would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Furcal and giving the Dodgers a 1-0 lead. Ethier and Ramirez would both move up to third and second respectively on Pat Burrell’s throw to home, which would get past Phillies’ catcher Carlos Ruiz, which was a mistake as Burrell should’ve thrown to third, keeping the runners at second and third. Moyer, after getting ahead in the count, would hit Russell Martin on the right knee, loading the bases, with still nobody out. Nomar Garciaparra would strike out looking for the first out of the inning. Casey Blake would then follow with a single, scoring Ethier to make it 2-0 Dodgers, while Ramirez and Martin would both move up a base, leaving the bases loaded. Moyer would then strike out Matt Kemp looking, for the inning’s second out. He would then get ahead of Blake DeWitt with two quick strikes, before the count evens out at 2-2. DeWitt would then hit the ball down the right field foul line for a three-run triple, knocking in Ramirez, Russell and Blake, giving the Dodgers a 5-0 lead. Moyer would finally get out of the inning by getting Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda to ground out, 5-3. The Phillies would get a run back in the top of the second as, with a runner on third and two outs, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who has earlier doubled and would move to third on Jayson Werth’s fly out to center, making it 5-1 Dodgers. The Dodgers would get that run back as Furcal would hit a lead-off home run off of Moyer, giving the Dodgers a 6-1 lead. In the top of the third inning, with no one on and two men out, Kuroda would throw the first pitch behind Shane Victorino’s head for ball one. This would lead to an exchange between first Victorino and Martin and then Victorino and Kuroda, with Victorino constantly pointing at his head and ribs, indictating that if he was going to hit him, Kuroda should be aiming for his ribs and not his head, while the home plate umpire would give Kuroda (and every pitcher who would later enter the game) a warning that if he believes that he was intentionally aiming at a batter, he would be thrown out of the game. Two pitches later, Victorino would ground out to the first baseman, Garciaparra, with Kuroda covering. Victorino would continue the argument about the ball being thrown at his head while both benches would clear out. Thankfully no blows were thrown, although Ramirez ended up being restrained by several of his teammates as he still believes that Brett Myers had tried to hit him with a pitch in game two although Myers has denied it. In the fourth, the Dodgers would make it 7-1 as, with two men on, and two outs, Garciaparra would hit an RBI single, scoring Ramirez, who has earlier walked and has moved to second on Martin’s walk. But the inning would end as Burrell would throw to third, catching Martin in front of third base, who is then caught in a run down, before being tagged out by Jimmy Rollins, 7-5-6. The Phillies would get a run back in the seventh, as, with runners on the corners and no outs, Pat Burrell would get a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has earlier doubled, and would move to third on Howard’s single, making the score 7-2 Dodgers, while moving Howard up to second. But, that would be the best that the Phillies would be able to do as the Dodgers’ bullpen would then shut them down for the last three innings, with Jonathan Broxton ending the game with a Feliz’s pop up to second, with Werth on first base, and two men out.

Jamie Moyer took the lost, his second straight bad start in the post-season, as he is only able to go one and a third innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits and a hit batter, while striking out two. His series record is presently 0-1 with a rather high 40.50 ERA. Clay Condrey would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and walking one. J.A. Happ would pitch three innings, giving up only one earned run on four hits and a two walks, while striking out two. Steve Eyre, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would each pitch an inning of scoreless ball, giving up between them no hits, two walks (Durbin (1), Romero (1)), and a hit batter (Durbin) and four strikeouts (Durbin (2), Romero (2)). Hiroki Kuroda would get the win as he would pitch six strongs innings plus three batters, as he gave up only two earned runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out three. His record in the series is now 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. Cory Wade would pitch two shut out innings, giving up only one hit, while striking out two. Jonathan Broxton would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up only one hit, while striking out one.

The lost would cut the Phillies’ lead in the series to 2-1 as the Dodgers went to work early on Jamie Moyer, batting around in the first as they scored five runs, with DeWitt’s three-run triple being the major blow. But the Phillies’ bullpen, after Moyer’s removal in the second after giving up a solo home run to Rafael Furcal, would shut down the Dodgers, only giving up one more run in six and two-thirds innings of work. Meantime, the Phillies’ batters would be once again unable to do anything against Dodgers’ starter Hiroki Kuroda before the seventh inning, when three straight hits by Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell would finally chase him out of the game. Sadly, it would a case of too little, too late. If there is any silver lining in all this, it is that it looks like Howard is finally coming out of his post-season slump, as he had a double and a single, scoring a run, and helping to set up the other Phils’ run. Now, if Jimmy Rollins’ bat would finally wake up, and if Shane Victorino would use last night’s incident as a motivator for the rest of the series, the Dodgers will be in a lot of trouble.

The National League Championship Series will continue tonight with Game 4. The game will be played at Dodgers Stadium and will begin at 8:22 pm Eastern (5:22 pm Pacific). The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton, who is coming off an excellent start against the Brewers on October 5, as he pitched the Phils into the championship series by pitching six innings of strong ball, giving up only an earned run on five scattered hits, while striking out seven, in the Phillies’ 6-2 win. During the regular season, his record was 9-12 (4-0 as a Phil) with a 4.69 ERA (4.20 as a Phil) in 197 and two-thirds innings, striking out 111 batters while walking only 66. He has faced the Dodgers twice already this year, getting a no-decision in both starts, as he pitched a combined total of eleven innings, giving up just five earned runs on fifteen hits and six walks, while striking out ten. He will be trying for his fourth straight win and his second win in the post-season, while trying to give the Phillies their first win this year in Los Angeles as well as a three games to one lead in the series. He will be opposed by first game starter Derek Lowe, who lost game one as the Phillies ended up knocking him out of the game in the sixth inning, after having them under control for the first five, as he gave up two home runs to Chase Utley and Pat Burrell after Dodgers’ shortstop Rafael Furcal’s two-base error on Shane Victorino’s ground ball shifted the game’s momentum over to the Phillies. In five and a third innings of work, Lowe would give up three runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits and a walk, while striking out two, in the Dodgers 2-1 lost. His series record is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA. He will be trying to rebound from the lost, as he tries to tie the series up at two games apiece.

National League Divisional Series: Game 2: The Phillies show that C.C. is just as human as anyone else as they ride Shane Victorino’s Grand Slam to a 5-2 win over the Brewers. They now head to Milwaukee with a 2-0 lead.

The Phillies show to the rest of the league that C.C. Sabathia is as human as the rest of us by scoring five runs off of him in the second inning before running him out of the game in the fourth as the Phillies’ ride Brett Myers’ two-hit pitching and Shane Victorino’s grand slam to a 5-1 victory over the Brew Crew. Things didn’t start out so brightly in the first inning, as the Brewers, after Mike Cameron started the game off by striking out on three pitches, would load the bases on Phillies’ starter Brett Myers via a walk to Ray Durham on four pitches, a double to Ryan Braun, which would send Durham to third, and an intentional walk to Prince Fielder. J.J. Hardy would then follow with a walk of his own, forcing in Durham with the game’s first run, giving the Brewers a 1-0 lead. But Myers would then get out of the inning as the next batter, Corey Hart, would hit the first pitch thrown to him directly to Myers. Myers would throw home for the second out of the inning as Carlos Ruiz would touch home plate before Braun can cross it. Ruiz would then throw over to first, beating out Hart, for the inning’s final out. That would turn out to be the first key moment of the game, as Myers would then settle down after the first inning. Meanwhile, the Phillies would try to strike back in their half of the first, as they would have a runner on third, via a Shane Victorino double and a stolen base, and one man out, when Brewers’ starter Sabathia would end the inning by striking out both Chase Utley and Ryan Howard swinging, and doing it by throwing only seventeen pitches. But, after Myers pitches a 1-2-3 second, the Phillies would go back to work on Sabathia. After Pat Burrell would start the inning off with a fly out to left, Jayson Werth would get on base with a double. Pedro Feliz would follow him with a RBI double, knocking in Werth, and tying the game at 1-1. After a Ruiz ground out to first would put Feliz on third, Myers would come up to bat. Myers would battle with Sabathia until on the ninth pitch thrown to him, he would get a walk, putting runners on the corners. That would be the second key moment of the game, as Sabathia’s pitch count starts to rise and he is beginning to miss the plate. Jimmy Rollins would follow Myers with a four pitch walk, loading the bases, as Myers would move up to second, bringing up to the plate Victorino. Trailing in the count, 1-2, Victorino would belt a slider into the left field seats for a grand slam home run, the first one ever hit by a Phillie in the playoffs, scoring Feliz, Myers and Rollins, and giving the Phils a 5-1 lead. Sabathia would finally end the inning by getting Utley to once again strike out swinging, but by then the damage has already been done, as Sabathia’s pitch count was now up to fifty-one pitches. In the third, Myers would pitch another 1-2-3 inning, while Sabathia would only let one batter get on base, Werth via his second double of the game, but Sabathia’s pitch count was still rising as he has now thrown seventy-two pitches in three innings. In the fourth, after Myers would breeze through another inning, even though he would hit Hart with a pitch with two men out, Sabathia would finally get knocked out of the box by the Phils. They would start their half of the fourth off with a one pitch ground out, 1-3, by Ruiz. Myers would then battle Sabathia again, getting him mad in the process, as he would get the count up to 3-2 on nine pitches, before finally flying out to center on pitch number 10. Rollins would then follow with a double, the fifth double, and the sixth extra-base hit, that the Phillies would get off of Sabathia. After intentionally walking Victorino, the Phils would get a double steal as Rollins and Victorino would both move up a base, with Utley batting. These would be the third and fourth stolen bases that the Phils would get off of Sabathia. Utley would then get a walk, loading up the bases, and leading to the removal of Sabathia by Brewers’ manager Dale Sveum. At that point, Sabathia’s pitch count has risen to ninety-eight pitches. Sveum would then bring in reliever Mitch Stetter to face Howard. Stetter would get the Brewers out of the inning by striking out Howard, leaving the bases loaded. In the fifth, the Phillies would reload the bases, with two outs, via two walks (Burrell and Ruiz) and a single (Myers), but the Brewers would get out of that jam as Rollins would line out to Fielder who made a great catch on a ball that would have broken the game wide open if it has gotten through. The Phillies would threaten again in the sixth as they would put runners on second and first, with one out, via a double (Victorino) and an intentional walk (Howard), but the Brewers would get out of the inning as Seth McClung, pitching in his second inning in relief of Stetter, would strike out Burrell for the second out of the inning and then get Werth to fly out. In the seventh, the Brewers would get a run back as Craig Counsell would ground out, 4-3, scoring Hardy, who has reached base earlier with a double, only the second hit given up by Myers, and would then move to third on Hart’s fly out to right, making it a 5-2 Phillies’ lead. The Phillies half of the seventh would see the Phils go down 1-2-3 for the only time yesterday. In the Brewers’ eighth, Myers would be taken out of the game and replaced by Ryan Madson. The inning would start with a fielding error by Rollins of pinch hitter Rickie Weeks’ grounder. Madson would then get Cameron to pop (foul) out to the third baseman for the inning’s first out. Durham would then hit into a force out, 1-6, forcing out Weeks, while Durham would beat out Rollins’ throw to first. Braun would then follow with a single, moving Durham up to second base with still two men out. Madson is then taken out of the game by Charlie Manuel and replaced by J.C. Romero, to face Fielder. On Romero’s first pitch, Fielder would hit a slow grounder towards Utley, who would shovel the ball over to Howard for the inning’s final out, ending the short-lived Brewers’ threat. In the ninth, Lidge would be given the ball for the save. Unlike Tuesday’s game, Lidge would have an easy 1-2-3 inning, ending the game with a fly out to center, giving the Phillies a 5-2 win and a 2-0 lead in the series, as the two teams now head for Milwaukee for the third game of the series.

Brett Myers would get the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out four. His post-season record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Ryan Madson would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face on one pitch. Brad Lidge would get his second post season save and his forty-third save in forty three tries, as he pitches a 1-2-3 inning. C.C. Sabathia would get the lost as he is only able to go three and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on six hits, walking four batters, while striking out five. His post-season record is now 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA. Mitch Stetter, Seth McClung, Eric Gagne and Salomon Torres would pitch a combined total of four and one-thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up just three hits (McClung (2), Torres (1)) and walking three (McClung), with each one striking out a batter for a total of four strike outs.

The victory gives the Phillies a commanding 2-0 lead in the series as they show that C.C. Sabathia is indeed human. This is mainly because most of the batters remained patient, with Brett Myers’ two at-bats against Sabathia being the key at-bats, especially the first one, as Sabathia would lose his composure after each one, leading to Shane Victorino’s grand slam in the second and Sabathia’s removal with the bases loaded, after throwing 98 pitches, in the fourth. It would seem that pitching Sabathia with only three days rest for the fourth straight game has come back to haunt the Brewers as they are now backed into a corner with the wily veteran Jamie Moyer up next to attempt to seal the deal for the Phillies. The Brewers’ ace was hit hard by the Phillies as all six of the hits off of him would be for extra-bases (5 (2B), 1 (HR)) while they also ran wild on him, stealing four bases, with Victorino leading the way with two steals. Meanwhile, Myers, after starting out a little wild and maybe being a little pinched by the home plate umpire, would gain control of the game after Corey Hart’s 1-2-3 double play ball ending the first inning, ending the Brewers best, and as it would turn out, only chance to get control of this game.  After that inning, the Brewers would not be able to handle Myers’ pitches, especially after he starts to throw at them more than just his fastball. It would appear that the Myers of the second half is back, and if he is, thank god for that.

The five games National League Divisional Series will now move to Milwaukee. The third game of the series will be played in Miller Park on Saturday and will start at 6:30 pm Eastern (5:30 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be veteran Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71), who is coming off a victory against the Nationals on September 27, as he went six innings, giving up only an earned run on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. He has last faced the Brewers on September 11, defeating them in the game that would lead to a four game swept of the Brew Crew, as he would pitch five and two-thirds innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, while striking out five, in the Phillies’ 6-3 win. Moyer will be trying to, like he did last Saturday, pitch the Phillies deeper into the playoff with a win. His opponent will be Dave Bush (9-10, 4.18), who is coming off his fifth straight no-decision, this time against the Cubs on September 27, as he would pitch three innings in relief, giving up no runs on no hits, while walking a batter and striking out one, in the Brewers’ 7-3 lost. His last start would be on September 23 against the Pirates, also a no-decision, as he went five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Brewers’ 7-5 win. His last start against the Phillies would be on September 14, as he pitched a no-decision, going six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Brewers’ 7-3 lost in the first game of a day/night doubleheader. Bush will be trying to prevent a sweep of the Brewers.

The Phillies will be trying to end the series early, handing the ball over to Jamie Moyer to do it. And, with the Brewers now trying to keep from getting swept, Moyer should be the right person for the job, as he’ll be trying to use the Brewers’ aggressiveness against them.

National League Divisional Series: Game 1: Behind the two-hit pitching of Cole Hamels, the Phillies take game one of the series, 3-1.

Behind Cole Hamels’ eight innings of shut out ball, the Phillies would take a 1-0 lead over the Brewers in their National League Divisional Series. After Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels and Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo would both pitch two straight shut out innings, Hamels would pitch a 1-2-3 third, striking out four of the first nine men that he would face. Gallardo wouldn’t be so lucky, as he would give up a lead-off single to Carlos Ruiz, the first hit of the ballgame. Hamels would then come to bat and laid down a sacrifice bunt that would become a catch error by the Brewers’ second baseman Rickie Weeks. Both men would then be safe on the play, with Ruiz reaching second and Hamels being safe on first. Jimmy Rollins would then fly out to left for the inning’s first out. Jayson Werth would then follow by striking out swinging, for the second out of the inning. Chase Utley would then come up, and on a 2-2 pitch, hit a double to center that would not be caught by Brewers’ center fielder Mike Cameron, scoring both Ruiz and Hamels and giving the Phillies a quick 2-0 lead. The Phillies would then load up the bases via an intentional walk to Ryan Howard and a walk to Pat Burrell. The next batter, Shane Victorino would also get a walk, forcing in Utley and giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead, and leaving the bases loaded as Howard and Burrell would both move up a base. With a chance to break the game wide open early, Pedro Feliz, the ninth batter of the inning, would instead end it by flying out to center. Now with a lead, Cole Hamels would then proceed to breeze through the Brewers’ lineup, giving up only two hits, while striking out nine Brewers. He had only one troublesome inning, the sixth. After striking out Jason Kendall, he would give up a single to Craig Counsell and then would walk Cameron, which would put Counsell on second. But Hamels would get out of the inning by first getting Bill Hall to strike out swinging for the second out of the inning, and then, on one pitch, he would get Ryan Braun to pop up to Jimmy Rollins, for the inning’s final out. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ bullpen would keep the Phillies’ bats pretty much muzzled until the bottom of the eight, when they would threaten to add on to their lead. After Utley would ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s first out, Howard would reach base with a walk. Eric Bruntlett, a defensive replacement for Burrell, would get a single off of Brewers’ shortstop J.J. Hardy, putting runners on first and second, as Howard would reach second base, with one out. The next batter, Victornio would then hit into a force out, 4-6, as Bruntlett is wiped out at second, while he would beat the throw to first base. In the meantime, Howard would reach third, putting runners on the corner. After Guillermo Mota is sent to the mound in place of Manny Parra, Victorino would steal second, putting both runners in scoring position. Sadly, Feliz would be unable to knock them in as he pops up on a ball that Counsell would just be able to catch in the outfield, ending the inning. Brad Lidge would then be given the ball to nail it down for the Phillies. After getting Cameron out on a called third strike, Lidge would give up a single to pinch hitter Ray Durham. Braun would follow him with a double to right, scoring Cameron, thanks in part to a catch error by Utley, preventing him from making a possible play at the plate, giving the Phillies a 3-1 lead. Lidge would then get Prince Fielder to strike out swinging for the inning’s second out. Hardy would then get on base with a walk, putting runners on first and second. With Corey Hart batting, Lidge would uncork a wild pitch, putting Braun on third and Hardy on second with the tying run and two outs. Lidge would then, on a 2-2 pitch, strike out Hart swinging on a high fastball, to end the game, striking out the side, and giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the series.

Cole Hamels will get the win, as he pitch eight shut out innings, giving up only two hits and a walk, while striking out nine. He is now 1-0 in the post-season with a 0.00 ERA. Brad Lidge would get the save, his forty-second save in forty two tries, and his first for the post season, as he gives up an earned run on two hits and a walk while striking out three. Yovani Gallardo would get the lost as he pitches only four innings, giving up three runs, all unearned, on three hits and five walks, while striking out three. He is now 0-1 in the post-season with an ERA of 0.00. Mitch Stetter, Carlos Villanueva, Manny Parra and Guillermo Moto would combine for four shut innings, giving up only one hit (Parra) and a walk (also by Parra), while striking out four (Stetter (1), Villanueva (3)).

With the win, the Phillies has started the series off on a good foot as they have won their first post season game since they have won game five in the 1993 World Series. They will now try for a sweep at home, but they will have to bat better than they did in today’s game against the hard to hit C.C. Sabathia. If they don’t, they’ll be heading to Milwaukee with a spilt. They will also need a good start from Brett Myers, who has gotten bombed in his last two starts after being almost unhittable since his return from his minor league assignement.

Game 2 of the NLDS will be played tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 6 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send out Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55), who is coming off his second straight bad performance, after going 7-2 in his previous eleven starts. In his last two starts, he would only go a combined total of eight and a third innings, giving up fourteen earned runs on ninteen hits. He will be trying to recover from those two starts and prove that he can help the Phillies get further along in the playoffs. His opponent will be the Brewers’ ace of the second half, C.C. Sabathia (17-10, 1.65), who is coming off his third straight game of pitching with three days rest, and winning his second straight start, as he pitched nine inning against the Cubs on September 28, giving up an unearned run on four hits, in the Brewers’ 3-1, which would help get them into the post season. He will once again be pitching with three days rest. The Phillies should be able to defeat him if he start to show any fatigue from pitching so many games with less rest than he would normally get, and if the Phillies’ batters show some patient while batting against him. Sabathia will be trying to even the series.

The Phillies will be trying to go to Milwaukee with a 2-0 lead in this short series, if they can get past Sabathia. Otherwise, they will be trying to win both games in Milwaukee. 

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.