A Look Ahead: Phillies Return East

Posted by Jason Bintliff, Tue, September 08, 2009 08:00 AM | Comments: 14

Well, that was a less than spectacular week in Phillies baseball. This week the Phillies will look to turn the tides on their misfortune as they return to the east coast to play the two worst teams in the N.L. East.

The Phillies, coming off of a week that saw them go 2-5, will head to Washington, for a three game set against the last-place Nationals. The Phillies will look to get their offense back in line after managing just 13 runs in their last seven games. They were shutout twice during that stretch and also beat the Giants by a 1-0 score, on a Cole Hamels complete game shutout.

In their last ten, the Phils are just 4-6, not the way you want to start the last month heading into the postseason. They remain in first in the East with a dwindling six game lead over the Marlins. The Braves are still eight games back. The Nationals meanwhile, have already been eliminated from playoff contention and are all playing for their 2010 employment in the Major League.

In their last ten, the Nationals are just 2-8, and a dismal 47-90 overall. Although they are this seasons version of baseballs laughing stock, do not take a team playing for pride lightly. The Nationals despite their pitching woes can still hit the ball hard and this past weekend was proof as they scored 16 runs in a three-game shootout with the Marlins.

The Nationals will send John Lannan, Garrett Mock, and Livan Hernandez to the rubber to face the Phillies. The Phils will counter with Pedro Martinez, Cliff Lee, and Joe Blanton.

The Phillies have had trouble with Lannan in his career, and Lannan has been responsible for injuring two Phillies in his career, Chase Utley(broken hand), and Cole Hamels(sprained ankle). Lannan has been decent this year, toting a 4.09 ERA into the final month.

Garrett Mock was recently rocked by the Marlins, giving up six runs over three innings in a loss to Florida. Long balls are what hurt Mock the most, which should play into the Phillies hands. Hernandez also gave up six runs in his last start, giving up four in the first.

Pedro Martinez’s last outing was by far his best since returning to baseball as he out-dueled Cy Young Award candidate Tim Lincecum. Martinez has shown flashes of brilliance in his short time with the Phillies, but it is way too early to tell if this kind of success can be duplicated, let alone sustained.

Cliff Lee has gone the opposite direction of Martinez, giving up six runs in each of his last two starts. Lee lasted only three innings in his last start and looks to regain his winning form heading into baseballs home stretch.

Blanton, despite giving up three runs in his last outing still kept the Phillies in the game. The Phillies eventually took the lead in that game against the Astros just to have it blown in the ninth by closer Brad Lidge. Blanton remains the team’s most steady starter this season and looks to maintain his solid work.

After three games with the Nats, the Phillies finally return home to face the much maligned New York Mets. It’s no secret that the Mets have had a rough season, losing key players such as Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, and David Wright for significant amounts of time. Although Wright has returned to the line-up, the rest are still out.

If you want to feel sorry for the Mets, don’t. There is nothing more that New York would love to do than come to Philadelphia and help to spoil our shot at the post season. If there is anything left for them to play for, this is it. Make no mistake, these four games against the Mets ARE their playoffs and believe that whatever “A” game is left in that clubhouse will be brought to Philly.

The Mets enter the series 62-75 and are seemingly out of playoff contention at 16 games back. They are an even 5-5 in their last ten, and recently took two of three from a quickly sinking Chicago Cubs. Just like in the Nationals series, pride is in play here so the the Phillies would be mistaken if they take this four game series lightly.

The Phillies should finish this week with a 5-2 record. Period. Anything less than that and fans have a legitimate reason to be concerned. Despite the pride factor, these are two terrible teams and the Phillies need to beat up on them for a few reasons. They need to get back on track, first. Second, they need to put more space between them and the division ankle-biters known as the Marlins. Lastly, the Phillies took a small hit to their own pride last week and they need to regain some pride of their own.

A good week could lead to a wonderful September. A bad week could spell the begin of a miserable one.

Avatar of Jason Bintliff

About Jason Bintliff

Jason Bintliff has written 55 articles on Phillies Nation.

Jason Bintliff is a Phillies season ticket holder and avid fan for 28 years. He was a former free lance writer and contributor to various baseball blogs. He is also the proud son of the owner of Lena Blackburns Baseball Rubbing Mud.

  • Posts: 0 Phan in TN

    that was a nice preview, Jason

    i’m along for the ride, wherever Uncle Chollie takes us

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    It’s been said before, but having a leadoff hitter with an OBP higher than .288 would sure help this offense…

  • Posts: 0 bob

    LMAO at “feeling sorry for the Mets”.

  • Posts: 0 David, the Mets fan from Queens

    As a faithful Mets fan, regardless of my team’s pitiable win/loss record, I’ve watched the same amount of ball games as I did last year, or the penultimate year – I’m sure that any Phillies fan would have done the same if his or her respective team suffered the Mets’ current fate. With that said, I’d like to corroborate Mr. Bintliff’s supposition that the Mets will play the Phillies vehemently; what do the Mets have to lose? I would also admonish any Phillies fan that, in the event that Fransisco Rodriguez posits a save, his exuberant post-save reactions will be “somewhat” more embellished than usual. Likely, I’m sure the Phillies would love to further beleaguer my already despondent Mets, so I don’t believe that the Phillies will even conceive of “taking it lightly” during the aforementioned four game series. Regardless of the NL East standings, the New York-Philadelphia rivalry surely makes the series worth watching. Personally, I am filled with alacrity merely thinking about this upcoming weekend!

    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    I’m going to Philly for 2 weekend games vs the Mets… last time I did that this year vs the Mets, Brad Lidge came in the ninth and had two perfect innings — I think he even struck out the side in one of the two. So here’s to doing that again!

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    The Mets suck.

  • Posts: 0 Bruce

    I hope the team will give heed to Manuel’s warning not to take the Mets lightly. And as Jason stated ” ..these four games against the Mets ARE their playoffs.” The Mets with all their injuries (including as many as 5 all stars on the DL) continue to play for pride and the satisfaction of being spoilers against teams that are contending for a playoff spot.

    The Mets have been playing well of late (won 3 out of last 4) thanks to quality starts from young starters such as Misch and Parnell who are competing for spots in next year’s rotation.

    Let’s go Phillies!

  • Posts: 0 Phan in TN

    I would like to take this time to respectfully remind and admonish “David, the Mets fan” that speaking from his hindquarters on a Phillies blog while barely understanding English isn’t a wise move inasmuch as all of the bad karma accrued from being a fetid Mets fan will ensure nothing more than a future as a rodent in the next life.

    “filled with alacrity”


    thats not what you’re filled with

  • Posts: 0 David, the Mets fan from Queens

    I’m assuming that I’ve hit a nerve, Phan in TN?

    I am glad that you took some time out of your life to even comment on what I’ve had to say. At least what I had to say had some objective merit to it, while your meaningless harangue is nothing more than verbal diarrhea; pejorative spew.

    Enjoy the weekend series!

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    How can anyone worry about the Mets already. We have 3 against that Nats and we’re playing like crap. Upper management stuck it’s head in the sand like the Ed Wade days and did nothing to get a bench bat or two off the waiver wire. And “let’s stick with what got us here Lidge” is an assanine strategy because he isn’t getting us there.

    Not panicked, just pissed because it was obvious to anyone what this team needed and we didn’t do it.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    David the metsfans –
    Here’ a recommendation:

    by William Strunk, Jr.

    “fillied with alacrity” is a poor choice of phrase. It’s verbose.
    ” Personally, I am filled with alacrity merely thinking about this upcoming weekend!” can be said, “I get excited by the mere thought of this weekend!”, or better yet, “I can hardly wait for this weekend!”.
    You don’t need to use “personally” unless you wish to distinguish between a formal, objective argument and an opinion. You’re on a fan blog; just about everything on here is opinion. Also, one can’t “posit a save” unless a “save” is something that needs postulating, suggesting or setting. I suppose one can “posit” a win in the sense that one secures a win, but this use seems esoteric. You also wrote, ” I would also admonish any Phillies fan that, in the event that Fransisco Rodriguez posits a save, his exuberant post-save reactions will be “somewhat” more embellished than usual.” First off, “admonish” is used inappropriately as you failed to state why we need admonshing. This can be rewritten as, “I would also forewarn any Phillies fan that, if Fransisco Rodriguez earns a save, he will celebrate more than usual.”

  • Posts: 0 David, the Mets fan from Queens

    J Reed,

    Thank you for the suggestions.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    psujoe – Given Lidge’s sizable contract, and the high demand /low supply of closers coupled with the list of teams more eligible than us to claim players off waivers, I can’t fault the management for not buying a new closer, but they are to blame for not suring up the bench. Besides can’t they see our need for a stituational contact hitter. If this weekend sweep wasn’t proof of this then some needs to tape RAJ eyes open, tie him to a chair and run a loop of Rose/Ashburn highlights a la A Clockwork Orange style.

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    j reed, I don’t think I would’ve traded for a closer, but it’s past time for Lidge to be done for the year in that role. Maybe he’ll bounce back next year. Time to give Brett the ball.

    Not getting another bat or two was a huge whiff.

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