After another marathon game last night – this one thanks to a four and a half hour rain delay – the Fightin Phils find themselves standing on the brink of elimnation. They are down two games to the Dodgers, who crushed the Rockies yesterday, and have just three games remaining in Miami. I was selfishly hoping last night’s game would be rained out so that there would be a makeup game on Monday when the weather’s supposed to be nice here in DC, but you know MLB and the Phillies wanted to play. As the minutes approached midnight, I recalled the 1993 doubleheader against the Padres in which the second game began at 1:05 am. If my memory (aided by regular viewings of Whatever It Takes, Dude) serves me correct, MLB instituted a rule after that doubleheder that no game could begin after midnight. For this reason, I figured the game would be postponed. But I was wrong. The game was squeezed in, and the Phillies lost 3-1. Immediately after our boys hopped a plane to South Florida, where they are now mostly likely fast asleep and dreaming about a Dodgers collapse.
The club is not out of it, that must be kept in mind. Los Angeles has a tough series against their neighbors to the north and there’s nothing more the Giants would like to do than to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs. That is a real rivalry, built upon years of tradition spanning two coasts. It is nothing like the naive Marlins-Phillies rivalry no matter how much the immature Scott Olsen wishes it to be. As I’m sure you’ve read, Olsen told the Palm Beach Post on Wednesday, "I want to ruin the Phillies’ season." Olsen was tossed from Sunday’s game in Philly for hitting Abraham Nunez with a pitch after getting rocked for seven runs off three homers in the third inning. I’m not sure what his grudge is against the Phillies, per se, it was the umpire that threw him out of the game and it was his lousy pitching that coughed up homers to Rollins, Utley and Coste. Still, I can understand a little self-motivation in professional sports, but making them public only puts a giant bulls-eye on your back. Plus the Phillies are a wounded animal right now, it would be unwise to tease them.
For what it’s worth, the Phillies are keeping us intrigued through at least 160 out of 162 games – a lot can be said for that. Of course, a lot more can be said for not winning a World Series with a payroll around $90 million. The Phillies have shown a lot of heart the past few weeks. I can see it in Burrell’s grimaces everytime he strikesout with the bases loaded. (Have you noticed he’s been striking out swinging a bit more in recent weeks? I guess we can call that an improvement.) But seriously, they are still in it, and crazier things have happened. Going into the weekend here’s what the prospects look like:
Phillies v. Marlins Dodgers v. Giants
Jamie Moyer v. Brian Moehler Hong-Chih Kuo v. Noah Lowery
Randy Wolf v. Scott Olsen Greg Maddux v. Matt Cain
Brett Myers v. Dontrelle Willis Derek Lowe v. Jason Schmidt
I have no desire to attempt to predict these games, they will all be hard fought, all I can do it hope for the best and say, Go Phils!
REMINDER: Tonight McFadden’s will host a Phillies Nation Phillies-watching party complete with drink specials and a bunch of fun Phillies fans. Be there!