Magic Number Is 2
– The Phillies’ magic number is two. They can clinch their fourth conscutive NL East championship tomorrow with a victory over the Mets and a Braves loss to the Nationals.
– The Phillies have an 11-game winning streak, which is their longest since a 13-game hitting streak July 30-Aug. 12, 1991.
– They are 19-3 in September.
– They are 93-61, which is the best record in Major League Baseball.
– Joe Blanton allowed two runs in seven innings to improve to 8-6 with a 4.94 ERA. He is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA (29 earned runs in 73 2/3 innings) in 12 starts since his last loss July 21 in St. Louis.
– The Mets are upset with Chase Utley.
– Charlie Manuel is upset with the Mets.
The Phillies were upset with the Mets for calling time when Brad Lidge was in the stretch, ready to deliver a 0-1 pitch to Jesus Feliciano with runners at the corners and two outs in the ninth inning. The Mets were upset with Utley for a late slide into second baseman Ruben Tejada in the fifth inning.
“I think that was terrible,” Manuel said of the timeout in the ninth.
Seconds before Lidge threw a pitch to Feliciano, the Mets got third base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt to call timeout because they wanted Luis Castillo to pinch-run for Josh Thole at first base. Why the Mets waited until Lidge had started his at-bat with Feliciano is unknown, but Manuel did not like it. He got into a heated conversation with first base umpire and crew chief Jerry Layne before returning to the dugout.
“Terrible it was allowed and when it was done,” Manuel said. “He’s in a stretch. He’s in the process of throwing the ball. They’re over there screaming time out.”
Lidge eventually got Feliciano to strike out to end the game and pick up his 27th save.
“It’s a little ridiculous, I think,” Lidge said. “That’s an interesting freeze-the-kicker type move, I guess. I actually haven’t seen that done in baseball. Hopefully that won’t be a trend. Hopefully that’s a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing.”
Utley slid late into second base trying to break up a double play in the fifth inning. He started his slide almost as he reached the bag.
Tejada was not upset afterward, but his teammates were angry.
“I think it’s a little dirty because I think he slid right on top of the base,” Jose Reyes said. “He doesn’t need to do that there in that situation.”
“If he wants guys sliding like that into him then it’s perfectly fine,” David Wright said. “He knows how to play the game and if doesn’t mind guys coming in like that when he’s trying to turn a double play, then we don’t have any problem with it. … He knows the difference between a good, clean slide and a slide that’s late. That’s a better question for him.”
Utley never emerged from a back room in the Phillies’ clubhouse to comment.
Hey, could make things even more interesting tomorrow, right?