Weekly Wrap: Smooth Sailing

When the Phillies went into the All-Star break, they had entered as the hottest team in baseball. After a forgettable June, the Phils looked as if they had steadied the bow in July.

So far this month, it has been smooth sailing.

The Phillies entered the weekend series with a four game lead over the second place Marlins and looked to build on their overall season success against the Fish. They also looked to build on their division lead.
On Thursday, pitcher Jaime Moyer took the hill having dominated the Marlins in Florida for his career. The dominance continued as Jaime threw seven scoreless innings giving up only a line-drive single to the Marlins Jorge Cantu.

The bullpen came in and held the Marlins hitless and the Phillies pitchers went on to throw their first combined one-hitter in over two decades. Also first baseman Ryan Howard belted his 200th career long ball, making him the fastest player to 200 homers since Ralph Kiner accomplished the feat in 706 games. Howard shattered the previous mark by 48 games.

Also notable in Thursday’s game was Raul Ibanez’s two home run night. He now has 24 bombs and 63 runs batted in for the season. If not for and injury that kept Ibanez out most of June, he may have garnered MVP considerations. He is currently batting .316 with a .372 on base percentage and a .669 slugging percentage.

It is said that in the ebb and flow of baseball you lose games you should have won and win games you should have lost. Friday night’s game was one of those games. Having a 4-1 lead after a 70 plus minute rain delay, the Phillies bullpen allowed the Marlins to tie the game and go into extra innings.

The Marlins had to win to keep the division close and momentum was definitely in their favor. Thanks to one run singles by both Chase Utley and Jayson Werth in the 12th and a shaky save from Brad Lidge, the Phillies avoided the letdown and gained more breathing room in the division.

Saturday night’s game was rained out and a two run Marlins lead will be erased as the game will start from scratch at a date to be determined later.

Overall it was a great week for the Phillies who will look to sweep the series this afternoon and put seven games between themselves and the Marlins. With a 6 ½ game lead over the Braves and an eight game lead over the Mets, things look to be breaking the Phillies way as the dog days of summer approach.

It is now time for the Phillies to start sailing away with the division.

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