New York Mets (74-79) at Philadelphia Phillies (93-61)
Dillon Gee, RHP (1-1, 1.80 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick, RHP (10-9, 4.78 ERA)
Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather: Clear, 80
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It doesn’t seem that long ago when beat writers and reporters were using words like ‘must-win’ and ‘crucial’ when describing upcoming Phillies games. Now while the crown is still up for grabs, the Phillies are on fire. Their magic number to clinch the NL East is two and they are showing no signs of slowing down.
It was hard to even think the Phillies would have a magic number back in July when they were seven games back behind the Atlanta Braves in the division. However, the Phillies have completed flipped those numbers going 45-15 since July 22 and have built a 6.5 game lead heading into the last week of the season.
The Phillies can come one game closer to clinching by knocking off the Mets in the second game of this three game series tonight. They will be looking to Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.78) to get the job done. Kendrick could be making his last start of the season, depending how Charlie Manuel sets up his rotation for a likely playoff berth.
Kendrick has been your typical 5th starter all year long. Inconsistency has troubled the young right hander in his last couple of outings. He only has three wins in his last seven starts going an average of 5+ innings and giving up a little over three runs a game. The offense will once again be asked to pick up the slack. Something they have had no problem doing over this current 11 game winning streak.
Shane Victorino is hitting .385 against the Mets in 13 games collecting 12 hits and three homeruns. However, those stats won’t mean anything going into tonight. The Phillies will be facing Mets’ rookie pitcher Dillon Gee (1-1. 1.80). Gee is making just his fourth start of his career and faces probably his toughest opponent yet.
The Phillies have the best record in all of baseball and have won 20 of their last 23 games. They are streaking to a fourth consecutive NL East title and looking to represent the National League in the World Series for a third straight year.
Today’s lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez SS, Kendrick P
Your gameday beer: Yards Love Stout
Anything from Yards is a friend of mine. They just make damn good beers. My favorite is Yards ESA, but this Love Stout is intriguing. Right now, it’s cask conditioned at Grey Lodge Pub in Northeast Philadelphia, another enticing factor. Since I’v never tried the Love Stout, I can’t say first hand how it looks or tastes. But by all accounts, it’s a very dark beer with a dark head that has a chocolate and coffee aroma. For you java lovers, this could be gold. If your in Philly, get down to the Grey Lodge and order a burger med-well with one of these and enjoy the game. -Pat Gallen