In the month of September, every game is huge. Each game’s importance is magnified as teams jockey for position and make their final push for October. When it’s all said and done, fans often point to the little things that helped get you over the hump, that put you in the position to make a run at the title. Tonight’s game was one of those little things.
The Phillies defeated the Mets tonight 4-2 and did it in uncharecteristic fashion, they played a little bit of small ball.
With twelve hits, the Phillies were able to push four runs across the plate, enough to secure Cole Hamels ninth win of the season. Hamels is now 9-9 this season and his ERA has dropped to 4.21.
Hamels looked good, going 6.2 innings, allowing only one run, while striking out six. His stuff wasn’t over-powering as he scattered seven hits, but it was just good enough to beat a team sinking further and further out of playoff contention.
At the dish the Phillies bats came to life as they banged out 12 hits, yet still failed in clutch situations, hitting just 4 for 19 with runners in scoring position. Their 13 runners left on base matched a season high.
Shane Victorino carried the offense, going 3 for 3 with two walks, three doubles, and a run scored. His effort lifted his average back over .300.Carlos Ruiz also chipped in, knocking in and scoring a run with a hit and two walks.
The Phillies also got doubles from Raul Ibanez, Chase Utley, and Pedro Feliz.
Despite notching a win in the contest, questions still linger as to whether the line-up has snapped it’s recent slump. The Phillies reached base in every inning and again, had 12 hits, yet only scored four runs. Timely hitting will make or break you in the post-season and the Phillies were lucky they didn’t fall victim to the Rays in the World Series when the Phillies set a record for futility with runners in scoring position. They won’t get that lucky again.
Also notable was Ryan Madson’s third straight save. He did give up a run in the ninth, but indifference allowed that run to score as the Phillies gladly traded it for the two outs recieved on the double-play.
The Phillies and Mets go at it again tomorrow, playing in front of a national crowd in game two of the four-game series. Should the Phillies take three of four from the Mets, they will mathematically eliminate them from the postseason.
Also with a Marlins loss to the Nationals, the Phils move ahead six games over the second place Fish.