Led by first baseman Ryan Howard and pitcher Cory Lidle, the Phillies held on to beat Washington 4-3 Friday night. Meanwhile in Houston, closer Brad Lidge blew a save for Andy Pettitte in the ninth inning as the Astros fell to the Cubs 4-3.
Scoreboard: With the win, the Phillies pulled to one game back of Houston in the National League Wild Card race.
What an incredible turn of events! On Thursday morning, the Phils looked as good as dead with Houston grasping to a commanding lead in the Wild Card race. Since then, the defending Wild Card winners dropped two straight games, this one at home to the lame-duck Cubbies with Pettitte on the hill.
Meanwhile, the never-say-die Phils eeked out another ninth-inning nail-biter, with closer Billy Wagner barely crossing the finish line with the tying run on third base.
The Phils have battled through extreme pressure this month. I don't know how they're doing it. My stomach can barely survive another second of this drama.
You want pressure? How about Cory Lidle? He was outstanding, going 6 2-3 and allowing only one earned run.
You want confidence? How about rookie Ryan Howard getting the Phils on the board in the second inning with a deep jack to right? That's his 21st of the season, and it always seems like his shots either get them started or drive the nail in the coffin of the opposition.
You want endurance? How about the September Jimmy Rollins and Kenny Lofton have had? J-Roll extended his hitting streak to 34 games, while Lofton went 2-5 with an RBI. Not to be outdone by his buddy, K-Lo has an OPS of 1.023 in September, while J-Roll has an OPS of 1.103. They're undoubtedly the best leadoff men in the game right now.
If I’ve learned anything about baseball this year, it's that the season is a long marathon to October. Anything can happen, and just when I thought I had everything figured out, the tables are turned once again.
Myers vs. Patterson ...
Williams vs. Clemens ...
Let's go Phillies...
Let's go Cubs...
Beat that son-of-a-bitch.