The idle Phillies picked up a half game on the Nationals, but every team ahead of them in the Wild Card hunt, with the exception of Miami, won Friday night.
Beerleaguer: Realistically, the Wild Card race will be tracked more intently than in any point in the last five years or so, not only because of the extra team, but the sizable hole the Phils have dug in their division. Just as the National League East is shaping up to be a dogfight, the Wild Card is lining up to be a packed field with a number of improved teams in the early hunt. The Mets and Giants, who share the Wild Card lead, each won Friday night; the Mets, who knocked off the Yankees Friday, have won four straight. In between, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Arizona, Miami and Milwaukee are all positioned ahead of the Phils, who are six off the pace in the Wild Card and 8.5 games behind Washington (10 in the loss column) in the division.
Turning to Saturday's 4:05 start, Charlie Manuel reshuffled his rotation and will go with Kyle Kendrick against James Shields for the Rays. Kendrick (5.29 ERA) is in the midst of one of the worst stretches of his career, having allowed five or more runs in his last three starts.
Sunday's double-header pitching match-up will be announced sometime today. The Phils will be granted a 26th man on their roster for the twin bill.