The Phillies have overcome adversity all season and face the ultimate test the next five days. With the playoffs in sight, the Phils try to find the winning touch when they continue their series with the Braves.
Scheduled starters: Tim Hudson (16-9, 3.34) vs. Kyle Lohse (8-12, 4.71)
Game chat: Before I get into Hudson, let’s talk about Lohse, who hasn’t been a topic of conversation much since the Phillies acquired him for left-hander Matt Maloney just before the trade deadline. For me, tonight’s start will tip the scale between satisfaction and disappointment in his acquisition. Pat Gillick did the right thing by trading for help in the rotation. No question, but it's not the issue. The issue is whether Lohse has given them enough. I’m on the fence. We all read how Lohse could be dominant, and truth be told, we haven't seen it. Actually, he has yet to last seven innings in pinstripes and has only won twice. Lohse really has no excuse not to be prepared for tonight. This is his last scheduled start before he hits free agency should the Phils miss the post-season. He's been an average pickup truthfully and hasn't done anything but hurt the bullpen lately. In five September appearances, four as a starter, he has a 6.10 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, .326 BAA.
Now Hudson. To me, he’s been surprising. With his numbers dropping significantly in 2006, I thought he was at a point in his career where the innings had finally caught up with him. Wrong (again). He’s about to pitch the most innings since 2003 in Oakland, and his numbers are on par with the best of his career. Hudson, in front of a healthy starting eight for the Braves, is perhaps the best combination in the National League right now. The Phillies have indeed had a share of success against Hudson, including a three-homer outburst by Ryan Howard last season. Are the Phillies up for the challenge again?
J-Roll makes history: Last night, Jimmy Rollins slugged his 30th homer of the season, making him only the second player in franchise history to have 30 homers and 30 stolen bases in the same season (Bobby Abreu, 2001 & 2004), and the second player to do it this season (David Wright). Rollins is also just the third shortstop in MLB history to accomplish the feat, joining Barry Larkin in 1996 and Alex Rodriguez in 1998. J-Roll is also on pace to set the record for most at-bats in a season, currently held by Willie Wilson (705 in 1980 for KC).