The Phillies had another offensive explosion last night, but it did little to erase the effects of time and improve their mediocre 71-69 record. They still trail San Diego by 2.5 games in the wild card race and need to keep at it tonight in Florida.
Jamie Moyer (1-1, 5.12 ERA) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1-3 innings on Sunday, but probably pitched a little better than those numbers indicate. Moyer surrendered a late home run when he was on the brink of being pulled anyway. It was his best start as a Phillie.
Moyer and the rest of the starting pitching staff have come together down the stretch. In the Phillies’ last nine games, the starting pitchers have posted a 2.91 ERA (18 ER, 55.2 IP), pitching at least 7.0 innings in five of the nine games. In addition, the starters have issued just 12 walks in their last 67.2 innings.
The offense has been solid as well. Since the all-star break, the Phillies are 31-22 (.585), which is the 3rd-best record in the NL, behind only the Mets (34-16) and Marlins (32-22). Offensively since the break, the Phillies lead the NL in hits (539), HR (81), runs (333), RBI (317), on-base percentage (.365), HBP (42), total bases (909) and stolen base percentage (91.4, 32-for-35). They are second in walks (217) and slugging percentage (.477).
For the Marlins, Scott Olsen (12-7 4.04 ERA) looks to win his fourth straight game. The 22-year-old left-hander threw seven shutout innings and struck out seven in a 10-3 win over Milwaukee on Sunday.
Despite the solid offense and starting pitching, the Phils are still doing a lot of things wrong, including problems in the bullpen, questionable strategy and front office moves that are still in doubt. For that portion, I'll turn it over to the comment thread below.