Admit it: It would be easier to write off the injury-plagued, bullpen-deprived season as a lost cause. The trouble is the pedestrian National League isn’t letting it happen. Like it or not, a weekend sweep would bump the Phils into the Wild Card lead.
Preview: It was a frustrating, buzzkilling week to be a Phillies fan, but after recovering from yesterday's bullpen bender, the sun is (almost) shining and there’s still plenty of baseball to look forward to. First, it’s only Aug. 24 and they’re right in the mix. They send three capable arms to the mound this series in Jamie Moyer, Kyle Lohse and Kyle Kendrick, while missing Chris Young and Jake Peavy, the Padres’ All-Star right-handers. They’ll draw Clay Hensley, who had been in the minors, and Wilfredo Ledezma, a reliever who’s only started once this season.
If all goes well, they’ll get Chase Utley back for the Mets series. The damage sounds minimal to Cole Hamels; they’ll get him back for September. I still don’t think there’s an odds-on favorite in the WC race, and the Mets aren't a lock to take the East.
This is obviously a huge series, starting with a veteran showdown between Greg Maddux (9-9, 3.90 ERA) and Jamie Moyer (11-9, 4.97 ERA). Moyer tries to rebound after allowing nine hits and seven earned runs in a four-inning drubbing in Steel City.