The Giants used a five-run third inning to top the visiting Padres 9-4, dropping the Pads into a dead heat with your Philadelphia Phillies. Meanwhile, the Phils gained on the Mets, who fell to the Nationals 13-4.
The floor of the Phillies bandwagon is covered in Mapquest, remnants of distant journeys. The 4-11 start. Eskingate. Myers to the pen. Garcia to the pine. The 10,000th loss. Rescuing the Rockies' grounds crew from under a tarp. Utley’s injury. Hamels’ injury. Pat the Bat, Part I. Pat the Bat, Part II. The pitching. The hitting. MVP candidates. LVP degenerates. Tied for the Wild Card lead with six to play.
What an amazing ride. Then again, it’s amazing how much this season would parallel any other if they play .500 ball the rest of the way and finish with 88 wins, just short of the requisite 89, 90 or possibly 91. The Phillies were tied for the Wild Card with six remaining and a favorable schedule and went 3-3 last season, and finished well shy of San Diego and Los Angeles, who ran the table. The final game, a loss in Florida, didn’t even matter.
The pieces are set for the final run. The Phillies and Padres are tied, but it’s the Padres who must take to the road while the hometown nine defend Citizens Bank Park against Atlanta and Washington. Speaking of the Braves, they’ve quietly matched the Phils with an 8-2 record of their own over the last 10. It may be too little, too late for Bobby Cox’s boys. Meanwhile, the red-hot Rockies, winners of eight straight, trail the Phils by only one. Phans now try to hex the Rox in their series with the Dodgers after cheering them just this weekend. If you're the owner of a Troy Tulowitzki voodoo doll, start sharpening your needles.
Back to the task at hand. Braves, Braves, Braves. That old-codger, Clout, offers his insights: “Key to the Braves series, and probably to the Wild Card, is tonight's game against Chuck James. It doesn't get any more must-win than this. Lose tonight and you'd have to beat Hudson and Smoltz to win the series. That, my friends, ain't happenin'. Win tonight and you just have to split the next two. Quite doable. Do that, then run the table vs. the Nats and probably clinch the WC regardless of what the Padres and Rocks do. But the key the tone-setter -- is tonight with Moyer vs. James. That is a winnable matchup and it must be won.”
2008 will be Gillick’s last: Phillies GM Pat Gillick told the Philadelphia Daily News yesterday that he will finish the final season of his three-year contract. There had been speculation he would not be back after 2007, with a report that he had bought some sort of property on the West Coast. The news would at least verify what most had assumed all along – that the 70-year-old baseball veteran would have a short-term run with the Phils.
Ruben Amaro Jr. and Mike Arbuckle serve as assistant GMs and interviewed for the job before, in addition to front office positions outside the organization. Gillick, a Phillies outsider, replaced Ed Wade, an insider, so one can only speculate the loyalist Phillies will again give serious consideration to inside candidates, after pacifying the fan base following Wade’s unpopular run.
Phillies add more former Mariner depth: Outfielder T.J. Bohn was claimed by the Phillies yesterday afternoon off waivers from the Atlanta Braves, Assistant General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced yesterday.
Originally selected by Seattle in the 30th round of the 2002 draft, Bohn has appeared in 18 major league games, all with the Mariners in 2006. In limited play, he hit .143 (2-14) with one home run and two RBI. Bohn, 27, began the season with triple-A Richmond and hit .241 with one home run and 14 RBI over 46 games. The St. Louis Park, Minn. native played in 11 games for the Gulf Coast raves where he had an 8-game run-scoring streak before finishing out the season with double-A Mississippi, batting .224 in 23 games.
To make room for Bohn on the 40-man roster, the Phillies placed RHP Yoel Hernandez on the 60-day disabled list. He has been added to the active roster. Beerleaguer: Appears to be a fairly useless, fussy addition, but don't discount the "revenge factor" against the Braves. LOL.