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Wild Card

SPORTS
September 15, 2012 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Staff Writer
Let's start by saying the standings at coolstandings.com are really cool. Go there, and you can easily find out that on Aug. 22, after a 3-2 home loss to the Cincinnati Reds, the Phillies were still 10 games under .500 at 57-67 and 14 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League's second wild-card berth. The website also has a formula for figuring out a team's chances of making the playoffs. That day, the Phillies were one of six teams at 0.1 percent. To understand how close that slim chance was to none, the Colorado Rockies and Miami Marlins were also listed at 0.1. Those were the two wretched teams the Phillies swept during their recent six-game homestand, creating a citywide buzz that seemed less likely than an elephant's tightrope walk across Citizens Bank Park.
SPORTS
September 14, 2012 | Daily News Wire Reports
ANOTHER DAY, another loss, and more frustration for the St. Louis Cardinals. Unlike last year when a tremendous stretch run lifted St. Louis to the NL wild-card berth and, ultimately, the World Series title, the Cardinals are sinking fast. Clayton Richard (13-12) pitched seven strong innings and rookie Yasmani Grandal singled home the go-ahead run as the San Diego Padres handed visiting St. Louis its 11th loss in 15 games, 3-2, on Wednesday. The Cardinals hold a one-game lead over Los Angeles for the second NL wild card.
SPORTS
September 14, 2012
HOUSTON - The winners of each wild card will square off in a one-game playoff. The victor moves on to the best-of-five National League Division Series, where they play the league's best team. Because of the utter nightmare that is scheduling - trying to fit in the end of the regular season, the one-game wild-card round and the NLDS all in the same week, with the possibility of tiebreaking games, too - the winner of the wild-card round hosts the first two games of the NLDS. So, the following scenario could take place: The Phils edge out the Cardinals for the second wild card, travel from their last game of the season in Washington to Atlanta for the wild-card round, then defeat Atlanta and return home to Citizens Bank Park to host Washington in the NLDS.
SPORTS
September 13, 2012 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer
DARIN RUF arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Monday. For his first 2 days as a big leaguer, Ruf sat on the bench. He was joined by Nate Schierholtz. Although Schierholtz was activated off the disabled list on Sept. 1 and labeled himself as "100 percent" before Tuesday's game, he has started two games since Aug. 11. He played rightfield for the final two innings of the Phillies' 9-7 victory over Miami. As the Phillies begin to make things interesting in the standings - they entered play Tuesday five games back of St. Louis in the race for the National League's second wild card - Charlie Manuel appears to be in the mode of riding the proverbial hot hands.
SPORTS
September 13, 2012 | By Bob Brookover, Inquirer Staff Writer
Third base is an interesting place for the Phillies these days. For more than a month, Kevin Frandsen held down the position remarkably well, hitting .331 with a .380 on-base percentage while doing a respectable job defensively. And then last week an MRI examination revealed a stress fracture in his left fibula. He has made just one pinch-hitting appearance since, and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday that it's unlikely Frandsen will be able to return to his role as the regular third baseman.
SPORTS
September 11, 2012 | BY RYAN LAWRENCE, Daily News Staff Writer
THE PHILLIES aren't looking at the standings. They don't care too much for the calendar, either. Ask them to compute the math that stands between them and their sixth straight postseason spot and they'd take a pass or turn to a cliché or six. "I don't think any of the guys are thinking about a race, so to speak, I know I'm not," closer Jonathan Papelbon said. "I'm going with the cliché one game at a time and I know it is a cliché, but I think everybody here is just trying to come to work everyday and leave everything out on the field 1 day at a time.
SPORTS
September 10, 2012 | By Bob Brookover, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For a short time Sunday afternoon, it appeared as if the Phillies would have a real chance to get within five games of the second wild-card spot that seemed so far away even at the beginning of September. They had recovered from an early two-run deficit in the first game of a doubleheader with the Colorado Rockies and pulled out a walk-off, 3-2 victory courtesy of a bases-loaded, two-out single from the rejuvenated John Mayberry Jr. Meanwhile, as the cleaning crew got Citizens Bank Park ready for the nighttime portion of the doubleheader, the St. Louis Cardinals coughed up a late two-run lead and were forced to play extra innings against the white-hot Milwaukee Brewers.
SPORTS
August 31, 2012 | DAILY NEWS WIRE REPORTS
BRYCE HARPER hit his third home run in two games, Jayson Werth homered for the first time since May, and Edwin Jackson struck out 10 Thursday night as the Washington Nationals padded their NL East lead with an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals opened an 11-game homestand with an overwhelming performance against a wild-card contender that failed to score an earned run for the third straight game. Jackson (8-9) have up four hits over eight innings. The victory moved the Nationals 5 1/2 games ahead of idle Atlanta.
SPORTS
August 31, 2012 | DAILY NEWS WIRE REPORTS
THE ONLY DOWNSIDE for the Oakland Athletics is that they don't play the Cleveland Indians again this season. Oakland capped a four-game sweep of the free-falling Indians with a 12-7 victory on Thursday. The Athletics, who have won six straight and eight of nine, finish the season series against Cleveland with an 8-2 record. After dropping the first two games in April, Oakland won the final eight versus the Indians. "We played against a team that we really needed to take a series from," said rightfielder Josh Reddick, who had three hits and three RBI. "We had a great opportunity to move up in the standings against a team we've played well against all year and we did just that.
SPORTS
August 29, 2012 | Associated Press
NEW YORK - So, Novak Djokovic, tell us how you really felt about your first-round match at the U.S. Open on a windy Tuesday night. "I tried to analyze my game," Djokovic said, "and my game was great from the start to the end. " Well, then. Pretty accurate assessment, actually. Djokovic lost the opening game of his title defense at Flushing Meadows, and then reeled off 18 of the next 19 games, completely controlling every aspect of a 6-1, 6-0, 6-1 victory over 69th-ranked Paolo Lorenzi.
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