In First Place with 3 Games Left

This is it everyone. This why we love the Phillies. Even if they break our hearts, there is no denying that after playing nearly six months of baseball it has all been worth it. The energy is amazing, not just in the ballpark but all over: high-fives with random fans on the streets of DC, text messages from friends, even emails from my grandmother – all saying, Go Phils! I love it! And Thursday night only added fuel to the fire. Abraham Nunez voiced his emotion after a nice catch in the ninth and Brett Myers walked off the field pumping up the crowd like a linebacker on fourth down.

Kyle Kendrick followed up an excellent performance by his namesake Kyle Loshe with another solid outing for Phillies starting pitchers. With the win, Kendrick became the first Phillies rookie to win 10 game since Pat Combs. He has really salvaged the rotation with his 10-4 record after Garcia, Lieber, and Eaton failed to contribute (though Eaton will get another chance on Saturday). Although Kyle got into some trouble in the sixth, he was able finish the inning and Charlie Manual wisely brought in Tom Gordon in the seventh. Gordon’s shutout inning was followed consecutively by J.C. Romero and Brett Myers. With 22 holds on the year and only 2 hits allowed in all of September, Romero is shaping up to be a legitimate setup man. It also helps that the offense is taking control early. Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell both connected for homers in the first and Howard, to his credit, has cut down on the strikeouts since setting his ignominous record earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, as you might have heard, the Mets were shutout by the Cardinals and have dropped 10 of their last 14 games. Now with the Phillies tied for a playoff spot and their destiny in their own hands, we could ease up on the scoreboard watching. But just as a preview, here are the matchups for the FINAL WEEKEND:

Nationals at Phillies
Tim Redding, RHP (3-5, 3.53) @ Cole Hamels, LHP (14-5, 3.54)
Matt Chico, LHP (6-9, 4.75) @ Adam Eaton, RHP (10-9, 6.33)
Jason Bergmann, RHP (6-5, 4.33) @ Jamie Moyer, LHP (13-12, 5.15)

Marlins at Mets
Byung-Hyun Kim, RHP (9-8, 6.11) @ Oliver Perez, LHP (15-9, 3.32)
Chris Seddon, LHP (0-1, 6.89) @ John Maine, RHP (14-10, 4.07)
Dontrelle Willis, LHP (10-15, 5.20) @ Tom Glavine, LHP (13-7, 4.14)

Padres at Milwaukee
Greg Maddux, RHP (13-11, 4.10) @ Chris Capuano, LHP (5-12, 5.09)
Chris Young, RHP (9-8, 3.13) @ Dave Bush, RHP (12-10, 5.16)
Brett Tomko, RHP (4-11, 5.39) @ Jeff Suppan, RHP (11-12, 4.57)

D’backs at Rockies
Brandon Webb, RHP (17-10, 3.02) @ Jeff Francis, LHP (17-8, 4.17)
Edgar Gonzalez, RHP (8-3, 4.73) @ Mark Redman, LHP (1-4, 8.67)
Doug Davis, LHP (13-12, 4.25) @ Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP (4-4, 4.52)

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