The Phillies have a chance to pull to 1.5 games back in the Wild Card if Brett Myers and the Phillies can get the job done tonight in Chicago.
(Editor's note: Listen up, Brett. I'm only going to write this once. No more excuses. None of this tired legs business. Bear down and do it. This is a big night, one that will define you in the eyes of many fans.)
Moving on, there can be no excuses as the Phils should have a clear edge tonight in Game 3. The Phillies are hot, so Myers (8-6, 4.40 ERA) should have a wide-open chance to end a four-game slide.
Myers allowed six runs, nine hits and four walks in 3 1-3 inning of a 6-4 loss to Washington on Friday and has a 9.45 ERA in his last four starts. Time away from the Bank should be good. He’s won his last three contests away from home.
The Cubs are a brutal team, with nothing to play for and a lame-duck manager in Dusty Baker. Baker will counter with rookie Angel Guzman (0-3, 6.68 ERA), who’s seen time in both the rotation and bullpen. Guzman makes his sixth start in place of Carlos Marmol, on the DL with a shoulder injury.
It was a long, hard road, which saw many a bailout, but the Phillies managed to top .500 yesterday for the first time since June 14. They have a chance to pull to within 1.5 games of the Wild Card-leading Reds, who lost this afternoon. Suddenly, there's talk from national writers that the Phillies might just slip into the postseason after all.
Second baseman Chase Utley is expected to return to the lineup following Monday’s outfield collision. Infielder Jose Hernandez, acquired yesterday from Pittsburgh, will be in uniform. Outfielder Michael Bourn was optioned last night to clear room for Hernandez.