Thursday, September 27, 2007
The game showcased how differently the Phillies and Braves are now, compared to just recently. Gaffes like Chipper Jones’ failure to tag Chase Utley and then his wide throw to first on Aaron Rowand, which allowed Utley to score and set up Ryan Howard and Rowand scoring when Greg Dobbs singled them in later, were mistakes that you’d see the Phillies make. Mental, bone-headed lapses in judgment that would break a game wide-open.
Kyle Lohse also out-pitched Tim Hudson, who actually pitched quite well himself. Lohse handicapped Braves hitters all night long, striking out five and not allowing a walk. Aside from the home run he allowed off the bat of Mark Teixeira, it was a near-perfect performance. Hudson pitched well too, but was utterly done in by Jones error.
Also, the Phillies bullpen entered the game and nailed the Braves coffin shut with three strikeouts. The Braves bullpen, in contrast, allowed the Phillies to tack on an insurance run when Shane Victorino hammered an insurance home run to make the game 5-2 in the seventh inning. The tough pitching, the good fielding, the mistake-free baseball, it is like the Braves have regressed to become the Phillies of old. This year feels different.
I think Phillies phandom knows that too. Watching the game on TV last night, I loved seeing the intensity in the crowd. Citizens Bank Ballpark was rocking. If the Phillies make the playoffs, Citizens Bank is going to be a difficult place for the Cubs or Diamondbacks or Padres to come and win a game or two.
I also saw that the Colorado Rockies have won ten games in a row and would probably be the most unlikely playoff team in decades if they close the gap and take the wildcard. Their last nine wins have been against the Padres and Dodgers too: very good teams they are competing with for the playoffs. These Rockies have been amazing over the last week. Overall, they are 17-7 in September. The Rockies September surge augers well for their chances to compete in 2008.
The Mets, in contrast, have really opened the door for the Phillies with their 4-9 swoon since September 14th. What’s wrong with the Mets? Their pitching has really been shelled of late. They allowed 32 runs to the Nationals in this series. 32 runs!!!! Tonight the Mets have Pedro on the mound. If he collapses, I think the Mets could be ruined mentally.
We shall see.
Your Phillies make an appearance in this great video about the Phillies Grounds crew. They seem to have a lot of fun which is what makes this team so lovable!