The Phillies held on to defeat the Nationals, 4-3, to win their second straight Eastern Division Championship. The Phillies would take the lead in the fourth, as, with runners on the corners and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a foul ball sacrifice fly, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled and would go to third on Ryan Howard’s single, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and still one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Howard, who would go to second on Shane Victorino’s single, and would then move up to third on Pedro Feliz’s walk, while Victorino would move up to second on the walk, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Nationals would cut the Phillies’ lead down to 2-1 in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Anderson Hernandez would hit a RBI double, scoring Roger Bernadina, who has earlier singled and would move on to second on Nationals’ starter John Lannan’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4. The Phillies would get that run back in their half of the fifth as Jayson Werth would hit a lead-off solo home run, his twenty-fourth home run of the year, giving the Phillies a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, the Nats would threaten to score as they would get their first two hitters, Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge, on base with singles, with Milledge’s being a bunt single that succeeded because Moyer has broken originally towards third base at the end of his delivery, before he was unable to grab the ball, putting Nats runners on first and second. But Moyer would then get out of the inning by getting first Elijah Dukes and then Aaron Boone to fly out to center and then getting Wil Nieves to strike out swinging. In the eighth inning, the Nats would make it close as, with runners on second and third, and no one out, Milledge would hit a sacrifice fly on a great play made by Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s first out, as Cristian Guzman, who has earlier singled and would go to third on Zimmerman’s double, would score during the collision between Rollins and a sliding Victorino, in which they would hit their right shins together, making it 3-2 Phils. As Rollins walk back to his position, walking it off, Victorino would lie on his back for a while, before he finally got back up and then walked it off as well, before the game resumed. Ryan Madson, who was pitching in relief of Chad Durbin, who, in turn, had pitched the seventh in relief of Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer, would end the inning by first getting Dukes to ground out, 6-4, and then getting Boone to strike out swinging. The Phillies would get that run back as, with a runner on first and two outs, Feliz would hit a RBI double, scoring Victorino, who has earlier singled and would run all the way home, making it 4-2 Phillies. The ball is then given to Brad Lidge to close it out. After striking out Emilio Bonifacio, he would give up a single to Bernadina. Pinch hitter Ryan Langerhans would than get on base with a walk, moving Bernadina up to second. Hernandez would follow with a RBI single, scoring Bernadina and sending Langerhans to second, making it 4-3 Phillies. Guzman would then single, moving Langerhans and Hernandez both up a base, as the bases are now loaded. The next batter, Zimmerman, would then hit a ground ball that tried to go into right center field for a hit. Rollins would stop the ball, and then threw it perfectly to Utley for the inning’s second out, wiping out Hernandez. Utley then threw a high throw that was brought down by Howard, beating out a slow running Zimmerman for the game’s final out on a double play and would lead to the start of the Phillies’ celebration of their second straight National League Eastern Division Championship, won at home for only the second time in the Phillies’ history.
Jamie Moyer would get the win, in the process tying Nolan Ryan’s record for the most games won by a 45 years old pitcher, as he went six innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits. His record is now 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning, giving up one earned run on two hits. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning, as he gave up an earned run on three hits as he recorded his forty-first save in forty-one attempts. John Lannan would get the lost, as he pitched five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 9-15 with a 3.91 ERA. Steven Shell would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Mike Hinckley would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on no hits. Garrett Mock would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.
With the victory, the Phillies have captured their seventh National League Eastern Division pennant in the team’s 126 years history, and their first two consecutive divisional crowns since they have won three Eastern Division pennants back in 1976-1978. This is the first time that they have entered the postseason for two straight seasons since the 1980-1981 seasons. Jamie Moyer, for the second straight season, has pitched the Phillies into the playoffs with his strong six innings outing. Every regular, except for Carlos Ruiz, would get at least one hit, while Shane Victorino would go 3 for 4, all singles, and scoring what would turn out to be the game winning run.
The 2008 Eastern Divisional Champion Phillies (91-70) will be playing their last regular season game tomorrow afternon, Fan Appreciation Day, against the Nationals (59-101). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter, thank to the clinching, will be J.A. Happ (1-0, 3.90), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on September 21, as he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 win, instead of their ace Cole Hamels, who will now be given the day off. He has faced the Nationals once before, pitching an inning in relief against them on September 1, as he gave up no runs on one hit, in the Phillies’ 7-4 lost. In four starts, he is 1-0 with three no-decisions, all of which would be won by the Phillies, with an ERA of 2.28. He will be trying for his second major league win tomorrow afternoon. His opponent will be Odalis Perez (7-11, 4.27), who is coming off a lost to the Padres on September 21, as he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Nationals’ 6-2 lost. In his last appearance against the Phillies on September 3, he pitched a no-decision, going five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Nationals’ 9-7 win. He will be trying to improve his record and end the Nationals’ season on a high note.
The Phillies are still ahead of the Mets by two games, as they defeated the Marlins. In the Wild Card race, the Mets and the Brewers are once again tied for the wild card lead as the Brewers lost to the Cubs. The Wild Card race will now go down to the wire between the Mets and the Brewers with the magic number for both being at 2. The Phillies will more than likely be resting most of their regulars tomorrow, while waiting to see who their opponent will be in the National League Divisional Series.
The Phillies have completed their sweep of the last place Nationals as Kyle Kendrick goes six and two-thirds innings to record his ninth win of the year as the Phillies defeated the Nats, 8-4. The Phillies would take the lead in the second inning as Jayson Werth hits a solo home run, his fifteenth home run of the year, to give the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. Four batters later, with runners on second and third, and one out, Jimmy Rollins would hit a RBI ground ball, third to first, scoring Eric Bruntlett, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, making it 2-0 Phillies. The next batter, Shane Victorino, would also hit a ground ball to the third baseman, but Ryan Zimmerman would this time throw the ball away trying to get the out at first, allowing Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, to score on the throwing error, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead, and allowing Victorino to reach second base. In the bottom of the second, Kory Casto would score the Nationals’ first run on a Kyle Kendrick wild pitch, after getting on base with a double, and going to third on a ground out, short to first, to make it a 3-1 Phillies’ lead. The Nationals would make it a 3-2 Phils’ lead as Jesus Flores would hit a RBI single, knocking in Zimmerman, who has reached base earlier after being hit by a pitched ball. The Phillies would increase their lead in the fourth to 5-2 as Rollins would hit a two-run home run, his ninth home run of the year, scoring Kendrick, who has earlier reached first base on catcher Jesus Flores’ throwing error to first after Kendrick has struck out on a pitch that Flores has to block in the dirt. Then in the sixth, with a runner on second, and two outs, Victorino would get a single on a hard grounder to the third baseman, reaching first safely on Ronnie Belliard’s throwing error, while Rollins, who has doubled earlier, would score on the error, to make it 6-2 Phillies. Ryan Howard would two batters later get a RBI single, scoring Victorino, giving the Phillies a 7-2 lead. Pat Burrell would follow with a RBI single, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies an 8-2 lead. In the ninth, with Rudy Seanez on the mound, the Nationals tried to create a very late rally. Pete Orr would start the inning off with a single. Pinch hitter Felipe Lopez would follow with a double, putting Orr on third. Willie Harris would then hit a RBI ground ball to first base for the inning’s first out, scoring Orr, while moving Lopez to third, making it an 8-3 Phillies’ lead. Lasting Milledge would then hit a slow ball towards first, that Seanez would grab before he tags out Milledge for the second out of the inning, while Lopez scores, giving the Phillies an 8-4 lead. After a walk to Ryan Langerhans, Charlie Manuel would come out and replace Seanez with Chad Durbin. Durbin would then end the game by getting Austin Kearns to fly out to left.
Kyle Kendrick would get the win, as he pitches six and two-thirds innings of strong ball, giving up only two earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 9-5 with a 4.59 ERA. Clay Condrey would pitch an inning and a third of shut out ball, giving up no hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Chad Durbin would pitch to only one batter, getting him to fly out. John Lannan would get the lost, lasting five and two-thirds innings, giving up eight runs, six of which were earned, on nine hits. His record would fall to 6-11 with a ERA of 3.61. Chris Manning would pitch to one batter, giving up a hit. Garrett Mock would pitch an inning and a third, giving up a hit and no runs. Jesus Colome would go two innings, giving up no runs on no hits.
The Phillies have completed their first sweep of the second half, while winning their fifth straight game. This is the fourth game during their winning streak that the Phillies’ offense have knocked in eight runs or more, while getting three extra-bases hits (1 (2B), 2 (HR)). This is also the first time in a while that the Phillies have been ten games over .500 since Interleague play. The Phillies would end July with a 15-10 record. The Phillies hope that their rejuvenated offense will continue in St. Louis, the city where their dangerous offense would begin to disappear back in mid-June.
The Phillies (59-49) will now go on to St. Louis to play the Cardinals (61-50, 2nd-T National League Central) in a three games weekend series. The first game of the series will be played in the new Busch Stadium and will start at 8:15 pm Eastern (7:15 pm Central). The Phillies’ starter will be their ace Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.27), who is coming off a bad outing against the Braves on July 26, where he would get a no-decision as he would only last three and two-thirds innings, giving up nine runs, only four of which would be earned, in the Phillies’ 10-9 win. He has already faced the Cardinals once before this year on July 8, losing that game as he went seven innings, giving up just two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 2-0 lost. He will for his fifth straight start try for his tenth win of the year, while trying to increase the Phillies’ present winning streak to six games. The Cardinals will counter with Kyle Lohse (12-3, 3.68), who is coming off a lost against the Mets on July 27, pitching five innings as he gave up seven earned runs on eleven hits, in the Cardinals’ 9-1 lost. He has already faced the Phils once before back on June 14, winning the game as he goes eight innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, in the Cardinals’ 3-2 win. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to silence the Phillies’ bats.
With the win, the Phillies’ lead over the Mets is now a game, as the Mets gets ready to play the Astros for a three games series in Houston. The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins is now at one and a half games, as they continue their four games series with the Rockies. Their lead over the Braves stay at nine games, as they start a three games series with the Brew Crew. The Phillies will be trying to increase their lead in the East while increasing their winning streak to six wins in a row.
Brett Myers would pitch seven strong scoreless innings before being lifted in the eighth inning, while Utley would hit his first home run since July 7, as the Phillies defeated the luckless Nationals, 2-1. In the third, Utley would knock in the only Phillies’ runs of the game as he would hit his twenty-sixth home run of the year, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. They would turn out to be the only runs that the Phillies would need as Myers dominated the Nationals for seven scoreless innings, giving up only three hits in those seven innings, although he would hit two batters, both of whom would later be wiped out by double plays. Then in the eighth, the Nationals would score their first run in twenty-six innings, since Friday night. The inning would start with Paul Lo Duca getting on base with a single. Felipe Lopez would follow by hitting a sharp grounder to Utley, a double play ball that Utley would be unable to catch, committing an error, putting runners on first and second. Charlie Manuel would then come out and replace Myers with J.C. Romero. He would then get the first out as pinch hitter Ryan Langerhans move over both pinch runner Cristian Guzman, running for Lo Duca, and Lopez, to third and second, although Langerhans almost beat the throw to Utley at first. Willie Harris would then hit a RBI ground out, third to first, scoring Guzman, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 2-1, while Lopez would move over to third base on the throw. Romero would then be replaced by Chad Durbin, who would get Ronnie Belliard to ground out, second to first, for the final out of the inning. That would turn out to be the final score as Brad Lidge would come in to pitch the ninth and record his twenty-fifth save in twenty-five tries with a 1-2-3 inning.
Brett Myers would get the win, his first since May 30, by pitching a surprisingly strong seven innings plus two batters, giving up only an unearned run on four hits, with two hit batters, a walk and two strikeouts. His record is now 4-9 with a 5.46 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Brad Lidge would record his twenty-fifth save of the year as he pitched a scoreless 1-2-3 inning. Collin Balester would get the lost as he gives up two earned runs on six hits, while striking out five. His record is now 1-3 with an ERA of 5.13. Garrett Mock, would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Charlie Manning and Joel Hanrahan would each pitch a scoreless inning, with both giving up a hit.
Brett Myers has done what very few people, including myself, were expecting him to do after coming back from his minor league stint, put together several scoreless innings, never mnd seven innings, as he used his pitches effectively, especially his fast ball. Of course, he did it against the woeful Nationals, who had not scored a run since last Friday. The next question is will he be able to continue his sudden effectiveness against his next opponent? We’ll find out in five-six days. Maybe having J.A. Happ now waiting in the wings have gotten Myers to put his head on straight. Maybe, maybe not. As I’d said, we’ll know soon.
The Phillies (57-49) three games series with the last place Nationals (38-68) continues tomorrow night at Nationals Park. The game will began at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.76), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on July 24, as he pitched his ninth straight quality start, going seven inning, giving up only one earned runs on two hits, in the Phillies’ 2-1 lost. He will be trying once again for his tenth victory of the year while trying for his tenth straight quality start. Moyer has met the Nationals already twice this year, with a 1-0 record and a no-decision that the Phillies would win in extra-innings, as he would pitch nine and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs, three of which were earned, on sixteen hits. The Nationals will send to the mound Tim Redding (7-5, 3.98), who is coming off a lost against the Giants on July 24, where he went eight innings, giving up an earned run on seven hits, in the Nationals’ 1-0 lost. He has faced the Phillies already twice this year, with a 2-0 record, as he has kept the Phils scoreless in thirteen and a third innings on eight hits. He will be aiming for his third win against the Phillies, trying to keep them scoreless.
The Phillies still trail the Mets by half a games as they have defedted the Marlins. They now lead the Marlins by a game. The Braves are now seven and a half games behind the Phillies, as they’d lost to the Cardinals. The Phillies will be trying for their fourth straight win and their second straight series win of the second half, while trying to light up Tim Redding for the first time this year.