September 22, 2012 |
Things are starting to get more interesting for the Phillies thanks to righthander Kyle Kendrick, the long ball and the Chicago Cubs. With Kendrick limiting Atlanta to two runs in 62/3 innings and his teammates swatting a season-high four home runs, the Phillies defeated the Braves, 6-2, on Friday night before a sellout crowd of 44,052 at Citizens Bank Park. The Cubs? They used an impressive comeback to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, 5-4, in 11 innings on Friday. That means the Phillies trail the Cardinals for the second wild-card spot by three games with 11 to play for both teams.
September 20, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Shane Victorino let out a hearty laugh when one postseason scenario was suggested. What if his old team, the Phillies, met his current club, the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a play-in game to determine the second wild-card spot? It's not impossible. The Phillies, who were rained out Tuesday, entered the evening trailing St. Louis for the National League's second wild-card spot by 31/2 games with 14 to play. The Dodgers, who were rained out of Tuesdays' game against Washington at Nationals Park, were one game behind the Cardinals with 15 to play.
September 19, 2012 |
NEW YORK - Less than a week ago, as the Phillies embarked on this seven-game road trip through Houston and New York, manager Charlie Manuel declared that his team was "dead in" the middle of the National League race for the second wild card. After losing three of four to the Astros, the declaration was altered to "we're not dead yet. " It seems inevitable that some team is going to eventually serve as the anvil that crushes the Phillies' faded playoff hopes. Some would argue that is exactly what the Astros did over the weekend.
September 18, 2012 |
HOUSTON - The buses carrying a defeated team left Minute Maid Park late Sunday afternoon, and there was little to be said. The Phillies will never play another National League game in this city, the place where they once celebrated a championship 32 years ago. There is nothing but horror in recent seasons, and Sunday represented the last chapter. A 99-loss Houston Astros team won three of four games against these desperate Phillies, who cling to the slimmest of wild-card hopes following a 7-6 defeat.
September 17, 2012 |
JON JAY was having a miserable time at the plate until the 12th inning, when he hit a clutch RBI double that made he and his teammates forget all the ugly at-bats that preceded it. The go-ahead hit sparked a three-run rally for the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, who earned a split of their four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 5-2 victory Sunday and regained undisputed possession of the second NL wild-card spot. "It was a long one and both teams fought hard," Jay said after the 4-hour, 25-minute marathon.
September 15, 2012 |
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.
September 14, 2012 |
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.
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.
September 13, 2012 |
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.