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Archive for September, 2010

Best Month Ever?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, September 24, 2010 08:14 AM Comments: 0

The numbers certainly indicate that this could become the most prolific month in Phillies history. Using baseball-reference.com as a guide (as you all should), I found that the Phillies haven’t had a month like this in quite sometime.

In May of 1976 and in more recent times, June of 1892(!), the Phillies posted a 22-5 month. In ’76, the Phillies finished with a team-record 101 wins, which they would match the following year. The 1892 season was only an 87 win year, sorry old fellas.

Here are some other great months in Phillies history:

  • July 2009: 20-7
  • Sept 2008: 17-8
  • April 1993: 17-5
  • Sept 1983 22-7
  • Sept 1980: 19-10
  • Aug 1977: 22-7
  • Aug 1950: 20-13, July 1950: 21-13
  • Sept 1916: 22-9

But anyway, are we currently witnessing the most impressive month in Phillies history? If the Phils finish the month going 5-1, they’ll have a record of 23-4, which would be the most wins in any month ever, and maybe one of the better September/October runs in recent memory by any team.

The Colorado Rockies of 2007 stand out for a team that finished strong, and even they won’t come close. Those Rockies got steaming hot, winning 11 in a row and 14 of 15 to finish the year, and still only compiled a 20-8 September record.

If you go into the way-back machine, the ’02 Oakland A’s won 20 consecutive games in August and completed the month a ridiculous 24-4. The Phillies have an outside shot of nearing that win percentage with an incredible stretch run.

To the best of my knowledge using the internets, The Giants won 29 games in September of 1916, the most ever. The 1938 Yankees won 28 games in August of that year, the most by an AL team. Both were obviously aided by the use of doubleheaders during that time.

Whatever the case may be, you could be witnessing history yet again with this club. Depending on how they close, the 2010 Phillies could be setting themselves up for a prime run at the crown once again.

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Why Cole Hamels is Not a Top-3 Cy Young Candidate

Posted by Michael Baumann, Thu, September 23, 2010 10:13 AM Comments: 0

When I was over at The Phrontiersman, I was fond of responding to public outcry or fan overreaction (positive or negative) by throwing out a link to “Let’s Not Shit Ourselves” by Bright Eyes. Since coming here, I haven’t used that clip, but I’ve been hearing rumblings that make me want to break it back out. So here it is.

Over the past year and change, I’ve been one of the biggest defenders of Cole Hamels even when he’s been down on his luck. I’ve explained BABIP to more drunk Pinies than I can count, and I’ve railed against that lunatic idea that Hamels should have gone the other way in the Roy Halladay trade instead of Kyle Drabek.

But I’ve noticed a groundswell of support for Cole Hamels to get Cy Young consideration–perhaps not for the top spot on the ballot (Roy Halladay’s already sewn that up in most people’s minds), but for lower spots on the new, expanded 5-man ballot. Two of the leading Hamels cheerleaders in the Phillies blogosphere are people I know well: Pat Gallen of this site and Dash Treyhorn of TheFightins.com. I consider both Pat and Dash to be friends, great writers, and knowledgeable baseball analysts, but in this case, they’re quite wrong.

It is worth noting that a commenter named Lewisauce chimed in on Pat’s post with the following: “Who cares. Just win the World Series.” I’m inclined to agree with that sentiment, but today’s an off-day, so I ask for your indulgence.

Is Cole Hamels having a career year? Sure. Is he, in large part, responsible for the Phillies’ success this season? Sure. Has he had one of the three or five best seasons of a National League pitcher? I don’t think so.

The common argument for Hamels as a Cy Young contender is that since May 1, he’s pitched as well as anyone in the game. The following comes from Pat’s post yesterday morning:

-Since May 1, just after a less-than-stellar opening month, Hamels has a 2.51 ERA. If you toss away his one inning start against the Braves in which he gave up three runs before being pulled due to the weather, his ERA drops to 2.36 since May 1.

-After the all-star break, Hamels ERA is 1.89 with a batting average against of .200

-He’s allowed just two earned runs this month, one against the Braves on Monday night and one against Florida the previous week.

Unfortunately for Hamels, voters don’t vote based on “since May 1,” “after the all-star break,” or “this month.” If I were going to award the Cy Young based on a full season minus a month, I’d pick not only Halladay but Adam Wainwright, Mat Latos, and Josh Johnson from Opening Day to September 1 over Hamels’ May 1 to present. For half a season, I can’t see why you’d vote for anyone other than Ubaldo Jimenez pre-All Star break. Yes, Hamels has had a great September, but at the risk of overstating my argument, so did Shane Spencer in 1998, but no one gave him Rookie of the Year or MVP attention. My point is that as much as Cole Hamels himself would like to have those six starts back, you have to be judged on your entire body of work, and taking those six starts out takes out almost 20% of Hamels’ season.

So on to the merits of Hamels’ entire season. How does he stack up against other National League starters? All stats are up-to-date before Wednesday’s games.

Well, Hamels is pretty good on strikeouts. He’s third in the league in that category, only six off the league lead–not too shabby. After that, it gets a little hairy. He’s 11th in the league (and third on his own team) in ERA, behind such luminaries as Brett Myers, R.A. Dickey, and Jaime Garcia. He’s tied for eighth in the league in innings pitched. Seventh in the league in K/BB ratio (at almost exactly half the rate of league leader Halladay). Seventh in the league in xFIP. Hamels is 10th in the league in WHIP (fourth on his own team, behind Oswalt, Halladay, and, improbably, Jamie Moyer). Cole is eighth in the league in WPA among starting pitchers, and 10th in WAR.

Finally, for those of you who hate progress and facts, Hamels is tied for 19th in the NL in wins.

Here’s my point, in short. Hamels has been outstanding this season, particularly of late. For that he deserves all the credit in the world and the sincere and abject apologies of everyone who badmouthed him last season. But if you look at the numbers, you’ll find him consistently in the top 10 in pitching categories, but out of the top 5, and consistently behind the same guys: Latos, Halladay, Johnson, Myers, Wainwright, etc. Has Hamels had a top 10 season in the NL? Certainly. But there are only five spots on the Cy Young ballot. He’ll probably get a few votes, but will he crack the top 3 or contend for the award? Well, like I said, let’s not shit ourselves.

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The Other Roy Dominates as Phils Jump 6 Up

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 22, 2010 10:55 PM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

Roy Oswalt. Tommy Hanson.  Neither blinked. Both righties battled each other, providing a pitchers duel that leaves you feeling a little giddy in late September. They left it for the bullpens to fend for themselves, and in the end, the Phillies were once again too much for Atlanta in the 1-0 finale win, their 10th straight.

Raul Ibanez gave the Phillies all they needed for a sweep with a double down the left field line that sprayed chalk and scored Jayson Werth. Werth slid through home plate with a pump of his fist as the rally towels waved at full whip.

The gap in the National League East has grown because of performances like that of Oswalt. He went seven innings, tossing 99 pitches, while allowing a lone hit and walk. It was a shutdown game that reeks of playoff baseball. Oswalt is desperate for it, as are many of the men who share red pinstripes.

Although he was left with a no-decision, Oswalt was downright brilliant, as he has been for sometime now. Tonight was Roy Deuce’s ninth scoreless outing of the season, and it came at a time when it was absolutely necessary.

Several players have flourished at the right moment, including one of the more beleaguered Phillies, Brad Lidge. The Phillies closer has converted nine saves in a row – including three straight nights with a save – and has finally found his old self. He said the workload hasn’t been a problem. “I do feel good,” said Lidge. “Basically the first two months of the season I was on the DL, so, to be able to throw a lot these last few months… that’s what’s one of the things that’s helped to get my arm and that command back.”

It wasn’t until the fifth inning the Phillies got any sort of offense perking. Carlos Ruiz’s one out double was the first hit of the evening off of Hanson. Wilson Valdez followed that up with a walk and Roy Oswalt moved them up a base with a well-placed two-strike bunt.

That brought up a scuffling Shane Victorino who promptly struck out looking on a ball right down the chute. It was a night filled with missed opportunities; few opportunities really. Tommy Hanson was the cause of the lacking offense.

Hanson went six strong frames, allowing just two hits while walking three and striking out four. Too many times he fooled Phillies hitters with a nasty slider/curveball combo which is helped by a mid-90’s fastball. Hanson did all he could, however, the Braves continued their slide into the abyss.

And for the Phillies, all that mattered was that Oswalt kept it close enough for the offense to strike. In the end, they did.

So the lead is six games with nine to play. Do the math and the Phils have a magic number of four. They are ever so close to completing a remarkable comeback, but it’s not yet time to sleep. They’ve taken care of business for the last month, what’s a few more days?

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Gameday: Braves (86-66) at Phillies (91-61)

Posted by Michael Baumann, Wed, September 22, 2010 05:30 PM Comments: 0

Atlanta Braves (86-66) at Philadelphia Phillies (91-61)Atlanta Braves

Tommy Hanson (10-11 3.62 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt (13-13, 2.90 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather:
Partly Cloudy, 88
TV: CSN
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Five up with 10 to play. It’s amazing that the Phillies have made it this far, just a game and a half back of the Yankees for the best record in all of baseball and hotter than any other contender when it counts the most. Tonight is a chance to go up by 2/3 the number of games remaining in the season. Monday and Tuesday nights, the Phillies sent their two best pitchers out to beat up on children. One wonders if Bobby Cox will ride off into the sunset regretting his failure to set his rotation for the three most important games of the season.

But today, Tommy Hanson takes up Atlanta’s cause. Hanson was spectacular as a rookie last year and has built on that strong performance in 2010, posting 3.8 WAR, a 3.14 K/BB ratio, and a 3.39 FIP. However, he’s going against Roy Oswalt, who, since joining the Phillies has been so good it’s starting to get boring to talk about it.

After winning the first two games of the series, this one is not absolutely essential, but it would certainly make a  difference to go into the last nine games up six, rather than four.

Today’s lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez SS, Oswalt P

Your gameday beer: Butterbeer

Victory LagerIn honor of the Phillies’ (hopeful) impending sweep this evening, we bring to you a beverage served at the Three Broomsticks in the Harry Potter series of books. Butterbeer is one of the few Harry Potter creations that we Muggles can enjoy. It’s one part butterscotch schnapps and seven parts cream soda. It’s certainly not that alcoholic, but it tastes, well, like magic.- Michael Baumann
GO PHILLIES!

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Is Hamels a Top-3 Cy Young Candidate?

Posted by Pat Gallen, Wed, September 22, 2010 11:00 AM Comments: 0

Here are some stats for you to chew on:

-Cole Hamels is 12-10 this season, with a 2.93 ERA, a new low. He ranks 11th in the NL in ERA, 9th in WHIP, 3rd in strikeouts, 6th in K/9, and 13th in BAA, and 8th in innings pitched.

-Since May 1, just after a less-than-stellar opening month, Hamels has a 2.51 ERA. If you toss away his one inning start against the Braves in which he gave up three runs before being pulled due to the weather, his ERA drops to 2.36 since May 1.

-After the all-star break, Hamels ERA is 1.89 with a batting average against of .200

-He’s allowed just two earned runs this month, one against the Braves on Monday night and one against Florida the previous week.

All of these statistics put him squarely in the race for a shot at the Cy Young Award in the National League. Right now, the clear favorite is Roy Halladay. He’s head an shoulders above the rest, but a case can be made for Cole Hamels to slide into the top three of the NL.

Rob Neyer of ESPN.com is a well-respected stat head who ranked R.A. Dickey (!) and an injured Josh Johnson ahead of Cole Hamels in his top five. No love for the lefty on that list, although he does have Roy Halladay at number one.

Has Hamels done enough to jump into the actual top three in the Cy Young voting? It’s obvious that his low win total will hurt him, even though it’s a rather meaningless stat for him. Five times this season Hamels has gone seven or more innings and given up three earned runs or less and been tagged with the loss. So, give Cole roughly 15 wins at this point, which would put him in the top six. Still not enough?

In all honesty, the first three slots seem to be reserved for Halladay, Jimenez, and Wainwright. But consider this: Jimenez has an ERA just digits lower than Cole’s. And while Jimenez has given up 23 less hits on the season, he’s walked 25 more than Hamels. The Phillies lefty has also struck out 207 on the year to Jimenez’s 192.

Not to dismiss Josh Johnson, as he had a remarkable season for Florida, however, he’s going to fall well short in the innings category. Therefore, he’ll also end up losing the peripheral stats battle.

What say you? Does Hamels deserve a spot amongst the three best pitchers in the National League this season? At the very least, a top five landing spot is well within reach.

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Halladay's 20th Stretches NL East Lead to 5

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, September 21, 2010 11:19 PM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

It’s beginning to feel like the Phillies and Braves are shopping in Macy’s. One team is standing on the escalator heading to the top floor, searching for the fine china, while the other is watching them pass on the way down, searching for the exits. Atlanta’s move toward the door continued tonight as Jayson Werth’s three-run homer paced the Phillies to a 5-3 win, their ninth straight.

Roy Halladay wasn’t perfect, but he didn’t need to be. His offense gave him enough to work with and he in turn provided his team with a victory, his 20th of the season. For Doc, it was the third 20-win season of his fine career and the first for the Phils since 1982 (Steve Carlton). It also pushed the Phillies five steps ahead of the Braves in what was once shaping up to be dogfight for the division.

Again, Halladay didn’t have his best stuff as he looked slightly worn down. Perhaps the long season has begun to take its toll. Overall, it was yet another quality start – seven innings, seven hits, three earned runs, two walks, and three strikeouts. It’s been a string of so-so performances by his standards, and although he wasn’t of the Cy Young caliber we’ve become accustomed to, Halladay gutted out a win in one of the most significant games he’s ever pitched.

“Being able to think about getting ourselves to the playoffs and finishing these last couple of weeks strong has been the priority,” said Halladay, with multiple ice wraps covering his upper body. “To be able to go out and pitch meaningful games at this point in the season makes all the difference.

Braves starter Mike Minor was sent to the showers early, going 2 1/3 innings while allowing those three runs on seven hits. The 22-year old rookie was forced to toss 73 pitches to get just seven outs.

Werth’s bomb to deep left-center field, his 25th of the year, opened up the scoring in the third inning. Minor was chased one batter later after allowing a double to Raul Ibanez following the home run.

Atlanta would counter with one in the fifth and one in the sixth to bring it to 3-2, but the Phils would eventually pull away. In the bottom of the sixth, Ibanez notched his second double, a screamer into the right field corner, scoring Ryan Howard and Werth. Halladay would exit after seven, handing it off to Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge. The Phillies closer converted his 20th save in his last 22 tries and in the process may have closed it down for good on the Braves.

As for Doc’s 20th victory, Charlie Manuel heaped praise on his ace. “He’s had a tremendous year for us. Count the innings and the wins he’s got, that speaks for itself, ” said Manuel.

Halladay’s 20th overshadowed a game of many stars tonight. Chase Utley and Wilson Valdez turned two beautiful double plays, including a ballerina-like pirouette move by Valdez on one of them. Lidge has hit his stride at the perfect time, recording his 19th scoreless appearance in those 22 opportunities. And the fans. They were loud and carrying towels. Citizens Bank Park was bumpin’.

Tomorrow, the final nail in the Braves coffin can be hammered down. The grave has been dug; it’s up to Roy Oswalt seal it up.

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Doc gets 20th win, magic number now six

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Tue, September 21, 2010 11:17 PM Comments: 0

For the first time in his career, Roy Halladay (20-10, 2.53) is pitching for a playoff contender.  From the looks of it, it hasn’t phased him one bit.  Halladay won his 20th game of the season tonight for the Phillies beating the Atlanta Braves 5-3 in front of the 119th consecutive sellout at CBP.  This is the first time the Fightins have had a 20-game winner since Steve Carlton did it in 1982.

Halladay made it through seven innings allowing three runs on seven hits.  He only struck out three batters and did walk two guys.  Two walks in one game is very rare for Halladay; he only has 30 in 32 starts this season.  I wouldn’t look too much into that stat as Halladay was getting a little squeezed on the outside corners tonight.  Halladay has thrown over 240 innings this season and I know I wouldn’t mind seeing the Phillies lock this division up early and give the good Doctor some extra rest heading into the playoffs.

The offense has Halladay’s back all night chasing Atlanta starter Mike Minor (3-2, 6.18) after recording only one out in the third inning.  Minor allowed seven hits including a laser shot of a home run by Jayson Werth to give the Phillies a three run lead.  Phillies hitters exploded for 12 hits tonight with Werth, Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, and Wilson Valdez collecting two hits each.  Even Roy Halladay added a hit and now has 12 hits on the season.

The Phillies have now won nine straight games, a season high, and are a Major League best 17-3 in September.  At 91-61, the Phillies are 30 games over .500 for the first time since 1993.  After tonight’s win their lead over the Braves in the NL East is five games.  Werth’s homer was his 25th of the season and he became the first Phillies player this year with 100 runs scored.

Phillies magic number to clinch is down to six.  Roy Oswalt will try and help the Phils go for the sweep tomorrow against Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson.

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Gameday: Braves (86-65) at Phillies (90-61)

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, September 21, 2010 06:07 PM Comments: 0

Atlanta Braves (86-65) at Philadelphia Phillies (90-61)Atlanta Braves

Mike Minor (3-1, 5.84 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (19-10, 2.49 ERA)

Time: 7:05, Citizens Bank Park
Weather:
Clear, 66
TV: CSN
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Four up with 11 to play. The Phillies can take a commanding five game lead in the National League East tonight with a win behind Roy Halladay. Atlanta is going to get sick of seeing aces real quick.

Halladay wants to join some elite company in Phillies history this evening. With a victory, he’ll get his 20th, putting him in a class with Steve Carlton, Chris Short, and Robin Roberts as the only pitchers since 1917 to have 20 wins or more for the club. Quite an honor.

Atlanta, in their quest for a playoff berth, is countering with 22-year old rookie Mike Minor. You’d think they would have set up the rotation in a way that would make this a series, but the Phillies have a clear advantage right now. As Charlie Manuel likes to say, it’s all about the here and now, he won’t look ahead and neither will the lot of these guys.

In his pre-game presser, he talked highly of Wilson Valdez. The 32-year old shortstop has done an admirable job of filling in for Jimmy Rollins, no matter how depressing his 19 double-plays are. As Rollins continues to heal slowly – there is no timetable yet for his return, but Manuel did say he’s getting better – Valdez will be called upon keep the defense in order. Can’t heap enough praise onto him.

Today’s lineup: Victorino CF, Polanco 3B, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Werth RF, Ibanez LF, Ruiz C, Valdez SS, Halladay P

Victory LagerYour gameday beer: Wild Goose Pumpkin Patch

This Maryland-based fall brew was ranked among the 10 best pumpkin beers by beerinfo.com, and tis the season. Beer Advocate gives it a solid B rating, so this is a fine brew to pick up while you enjoy the autumn breeze flowing through the open windows. Nose and flavors consist of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, toasted grains, some sweet malt. Your usual pumpkin ale spice profile, but a tad muted. Makes it slightly easier to drink than Punkin Ale by Dogfish, in my opinion. - Pat Gallen
GO PHILLIES!

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Aces Up for the Phillies

Posted by Pat Gallen, Tue, September 21, 2010 08:20 AM Comments: 0

—Citizens Bank Park

Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz. The early 70′s Orioles had four-20 game winners, the last group to do so. Oakland had a ridiculous staff in the late 80′s led by Dave Stewart and Bob Welch. This trio starting to rise into the same category..

They may not have the win totals this year to back it up – Cole Hamels has just 12 – or the totals over a career to justify this lofty salute. And no, they aren’t quite Hall of Fame worthy (although at some point, all three could be). But right now, none of them can be beaten. They are turning into one of the greatest trio’s assembled in a long, long time.

Hamels is 5-0 with a 0.68 ERA in his last five starts. He hasn’t lost since August 19. Roy Oswalt gets the ball in the series finale with the Braves on Wednesday hasn’t suffered a defeat since July 30. He’s 7-0 in his last seven starts.  Roy Halladay, who pitches tomorrow, has been the Achillies heel of the bunch. Bringing it up the rear, Halladay has only won three straight games. Total slacker the Doc is.

(Off on a quick tangent and speaking of the Braves, how disheartening must it be for that team to come this far, to matchup against your biggest rival, only to have to pitch three guys 24 or younger right in a row?)

Counting up the numbers with super-awesome arithmetic, they’ve now won a combined 15 consecutive decisions for the Phillies. They can’t lose right now. They all feed off of each other, and why wouldn’t they? Each pitcher brings something different to the table, but they all share a common bond. They are kicking royal ass. But beyond that, they have a quiet confidence and it appears they are trying to one up the guy who pitched the night before.

Hamels talked about how being the “only guy” can be a stress. By “only guy,” he means the lone wolf of the staff; the guy with no others to back him. Hamels was that fella early last year. And in the process, he put undue pressure on himself, leading to a down season. This season is very much different.

“You know you don’t have to be ‘that guy’,” said Hamels. “You don’t have to carry a whole team on your back.” Sounds like he knows from experience.

This season, Cole’s had a little help from his friends – the two other guys who help make up H2O. Charlie Manuel was asked who he thought the ace of his staff was. Of course, all three are an ace on any team in the universe, but Charlie wouldn’t point at a partiuclar player. And why should he?  ”Whoever pitches good on that night. Thats how I look at it.”

Of course, you have to believe that’s how the rest of Philadelphia views it too.

Perhaps it’s early to call them the mid-90′s Braves staff, as they haven’t had the overall success or longevity. With a postseason waiting for them over the 11 game hump, they have the opportunity to put themselves in that category. And while they may not have the numbers to match the old Orioles and A’s squads, the team success when they take the hill speaks for itself. With a few more wins, the NL East could be all but sealed shut. And you know who to thank for that.

Aces up.

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King Cole dominates, Phils lead now by 4 games in NL East

Posted by Kieran Carobine, Mon, September 20, 2010 11:23 PM Comments: 0

Cole Hamels, the ace.  He certainly has been pitching like it lately.  And coming into a crucial three game series against the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies were looking for Hamels to continue pitching like one.   Hamels is the third part of the three headed monster affectionately called H2O.  The trio of Hamels, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt is the scariest top three out of any team in the Majors.  Matched with an offense who continues to carve up starting pitching; this team is making their patented push to the playoffs to hopefully claim their fourth straight NL East title and third consecutive NL pennant.

Tonight, however, the offense wasn’t it’s usual ball punishing self.  With Hamels on the mound, and the way he has been pitching of late, the Phils were in good hands.  Hamels did not disappoint.  He went eight innings allowing only six hits and one run while striking out six taking the win for the 3-1 victory.  That is only the second run he has allowed in his last 39 1/3 innings of work where his ERA is so small I can’t even see it.  In his last five starts his ERA is an astonishing 0.49 which puts his overall at a career best 2.43.  With his performance tonight, he joins the rest of H2O with sub three ERA’s.  Oswalt’s ERA with the Phillies is under two.

Hamels did work from behind giving up a run in the second inning but worked out a two on-bases loaded jam striking out Alex Gonzalez and inducing an inning ending double play by Melky Cabrera.    This just shows how far along Hamels has come from last year and the year before.  Before Hamels could have become frustrated with himself and lost focus.  Tonight he buckled down and went to work.  Each day growing more and more comparisons to his 2008 World Series MVP form.  Something the Phillies will definitely love to see again.

The offense tonight managed only five hits scattered throughout the lineup.  Placido Polanco, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz all picked up RBIs for the Fightins.  With those RBIs the Phillies now have seven of their eight regular starters with at least 50 RBIs.  Jimmy Rollins, who has missed a lot of time on the DL, has 37.

The Phillies will send Roy Halladay to the mound tomorrow to try to increase their lead in the NL East, which is now at four games.    Tonight’s win was the team’s eighth straight win.  Since June 21, when the Phillies trailed Atlanta by seven games, the team has gone 42-15 to retake their stake at the top of the NL East.  Now at 90 wins for the season, the Phillies only trail the Yankees (91) for most wins the Majors.

Brad Lidge pitched the ninth inning tonight for his 24th save in 29 chances.  That is his 14th save in his last 15 chances.  Oh and Chooch is leading the team in batting with a .299 average.  Ice cream for everyone!

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