JC Romero made his long awaited return on Monday night, but it wasn't enough to help the Phillies reduce their magic number. Romero threw a scoreless inning, but Cole Hamels still took his 10th loss of the season as the Phillies dropped the series opener to Houston, 8-2. Going into the game, the Phillies appeared to be a lock to beat the Astros with Hamels taking on Yorman Bazardo, but baseball is as great as it is because of games like last night. Games are not won on paper, or because the World Series MVP is facing a player who many would describe as "a no-name". Games are won on the field, and it's quite necessary to play each game on the schedule.
Tonight, "Jay" Happ will try to be the stopper for the Phillies in game 2 of the series at Citizens Bank Park. Happ has a 2.47 ERA in his last 9 starts.
In a more perfect world, with a more perfect closer (eh-hem, 2008 Brad Lidge!), the Phillies would surely have another NL East division title locked up already. As such, the nucleus of the starting offense needs to continue playing on a daily basis, even though they are admittedly and obviously tired. With only two days off and two double headers played in September, the Phillies have played 28 games in the 28 days that have passed this month. By Sunday night, the Phils will have played 34 games in 34 days. Clinching this playoff berth and getting the regulars some rest is key before the Phillies move onto their second season.
Ryan Howard stole his career high 8th base of the season on Monday night. That is 10 in his career, and Howard is now only 498 steals behind Billy Hamilton for the all time Phillies team lead.
Phans, don't panic. Comparisons to the 1964 Phillies are premature and unwelcome. For those who are unfamiliar, in '64, the Phillies had a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games left in the season, and failed to clinch a playoff spot.
The Phillies currently lead the Braves by 4 with 6 games remaining. The Braves only trail the wild card leading Rockies by 2 games.
Another great blog entry from Ump Al- you should check it out!
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