Twelve hours after the Phillies dropped a wild one to the Reds, cooler heads prevail at Beerleaguer headquarters, as fans await the deciding game of this important series.
My long-standing prejudice against closers surfaced in an ugly scene that must sent shockwaves through this readership. I allowed a three-letter baseball slur to fly during last night’s in-game discussion. It happened for the first time since Billy Wagner served up that cookie to Craig Biggio. “Boo.” I apologize to Tom Gordon, his family, the Phillies, and to my readers for violating their trust.
Moving forward, the Phillies have a chance to escape with the series win this afternoon. For that to happen, they need a minimum of seven good innings from Brett Myers (8-5, 3.95 ERA), who’s due for a gem following two mediocre starts. The bullpen is absolutely spent, to the point where they should call on reinforcements from Triple-A.
As for Gordon ... after going back-and-forth on whether the issue is physical or mental, I've settled on calling it - simply - "a rough patch."
As for the opposition, left-hander Eric Milton (8-7, 5.01 ERA) may have a reputation as a home run pitcher, coming back into a home-run park, but he’s been no pushover this season. He’s the type of pitcher that makes me a little nervous against this Phillies team. They can sometimes fall flat against this type of hurler.
The first two games were wild affairs, but expect a tight, close finale to this emotionally draining series.
The sun is shining, the beer is cold, and the Phillies are in a rubber match against the team they’re chasing in the Wild Card race. There’s no chance I’m watching this one at home.
J-Roll makes history
Jimmy Rollins homered from both sides of the plate yesterday, becoming (I believe) the first Phillie to do it since Dave Hollins. Rollins has three home runs this series and five already in August, helping raise his OPS to 1.080 this month.
On the subject of OPS, Ryan Howard’s on-base + slugging has reached its highest point since April, cresting over 1.008 following last night’s 40th home run and 2-for-5 performance. Like J-Roll, he’s having a monster month, hitting .378 with a 1.256 OPS.
Dellucci still slugging
As hot as J-Roll and the Howitzer have been, nobody has been more out of their mind this month than David Dellucci, who’s hitting just about everything for extra bases. In August, the former reservist is hitting .483/.579/.828 for an OPS of 1.407.