Go for 10? Sure, but momentum is only as good as the next day’s opposing pitcher, and here he is, early Cy Young front-runner, Tom Glavine.
At risk of crucifixion, tonight the Phils should stay true to form with a tough left-hander on the hill and try forgetting they have won nine straight.
Instead of reaching, Charlie Manuel should play the numbers. It’s not a bad night to sit Ryan Howard or Bobby Abreu. Abreu is not hitting the ball well despite earning Chevrolet Player of the Game Honors last night. Glavine has been outstanding this season (4-2, 1.94 ERA, 41 Ks), and the Phils have not hit left-handers well. So instead of reaching with regulars, give one or two a rest. Who knows? The last time they fielded two bench players was the first game of this nine-game streak.
Cory Lidle (3-3, 4.17 ERA) hasn’t allowed more than two runs his last two outings and has been the unsung hero of the rotation thus far. His 38 strikeouts have been the biggest surprise, good for seventh in the National League.
But Glavine, like Pedro, is the big story tonight. The 40-year-old two-time Cy Young winner has pitched in 6+ innings in 22-consecutive starts, which matches a career-high. He recorded his 14th career double-digit strikeout game on May 4 against Pittsburgh. His ERA (1.94) is third-best in the majors.
That should answer any questions whether Glavine can still pitch. Of the three games they will play this series, this one will be the toughest for the hometown nine.
---- The Phillies pitching staff has posted a 3.06 ERA in their last 11 games.
---- The Phillies bullpen has allowed 10 earned runs in their last 57 innings for a 1.58 ERA.
---- In their last eight games, the Phils are hitting .325 in the 7th inning or later.
---- Pat Burrell, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Bobby Abreu have combined for 95 RBIs, most among NL foursomes.