With Ernesto gone, only the Phillies’ bullpen has stood in their own way. After yesterday's bitter split, the Phils now trail San Diego by a full game in the NL Wild Card race.
The best way for the Phillies to take the bullpen out of the equation is to do what they did last night in Game 2 by battering their opponent into submission. The Phils rattled off 20 hits in a 16-4 win over Atlanta, getting plenty of help from their new acquisitions. Only a deep fly ball to right field separated Jose Hernandez from a 5-for-5 night. Jeff Conine went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. And the newest addition, Randall Simon, is two-for-two in red pinstripes, with an RBI single in the second game. In addition to the new guys, Mike Lieberthal hit a two-run homer and knocked in four runs.
Ryan Howard may not have homered, but the day ended with the MVP candidate seeing his batting average climb to .301 on the season. Howard was on base six times in the two games, and has his on-base percentage up near .400.
Second only to Howard for sustained offense lately is Shane Victorino, who’s slapping the ball all over the place. The speedy second-year center fielder went 6-for-10 in yesterday's action, and also made a fine play in Game 1 to double Chipper Jones off second base.
Jamie Moyer (1-1, 6.00 ERA) will make his first career start at Citizens Bank Park. The 43-year-old left-hander will look to bounce back after a loss to the Mets on Monday. The Braves will counter with Tim Hudson (11-10, 4.85), looking to extend his win streak to four games.
Flash could return today
According to this morning's Inquirer, Tom Gordon could be back in action today. Flash made his second rehabilitation appearance last night for single-A Clearwater and allowed one hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings.