The Phillies find themselves 1 ½ games up in the National League East because their bullpen could hold it and the Mets’ bullpen couldn’t.
Time to celebrate ... celebrate that the season series with Florida is over. What a pain. Seriously. The Phils didn’t play particularly well, but scratched out two-of-three with a 5-2 win yesterday. Call it “The Bad Lighting Series” or perhaps “The Mound Conference Series.” “Is it just me or do the Phillies seem to have an inordinate amount of meetings on the mound?” asked one reader via e-mail. “There are constant meetings between catcher-pitcher (both Ruiz and Coste) and then meetings with the infielders all present. Then Dubee will come out for a meeting. This can happen 3-4 times in an inning, sometimes even during one at-bat.”
Good teams know how to win ugly, which seems to be how every series in South Florida unfolds. Credit stuff like defense, stable starting pitching and a bend-but-don’t-break bullpen, all the stuff that teams who’ve been there before can execute down the stretch (Wait ... so the Phils are one of those teams now?) Greg Dobbs made another outstanding play in the 7th to limit the damage on a bullet down the third-base line. It’s amazing how many times the bullpen worked out of jams. Then they received a huge pinch homer from Pedro Feliz to supply a three-run cushion. But even before that, Jamie Moyer comes up big down the stretch yet again, allowing one run in six innings to earn his 15th win of the season.
Meanwhile in Atlanta, the Mets were victimized with another late-inning bullpen collapse, blowing their 16th save since the All-Star break. And in Cincinnati, Milwaukee dispatched the Reds 8-1 in a must-win for the Brew Crew. A combination of four Phillies wins or Brewers loses punches Philadelphia’s ticket to October.
In another season of peaks and valleys, the Phils have won nine of 10, and a look in the rear view finds two scuffling teams in the Mets and Brewers. The Phillies are on top, but the way good fortune shifts in the blink of an eye, the only thing truly worth celebrating this morning is kicking Florida to the curb.