Results tagged ‘ magic number ’

The Magic Number Keeps Dropping

Got some magic numbers for you:

  • Clinch a postseason berth: 2.
  • Clinch fifth consecutive National League East championship: 7.
  • Clinch home-field advantage throughout postseason: 8.

Talk about a bad week for the Brewers. They no longer have the second-best record in the league (Arizona does), which means if the season ended today they would play the Phillies in the NLDS. The Phillies have won six consecutive games against the Braves and Brewers and took 2 of 3 from Arizona at home in August (and that one loss came when Roy Halladay blew the only ninth-inning lead of his career). Not sure anybody wants to play the Phillies right now.

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Carlos Ruiz is one tough dude. When Buster Posey broke his ankle during a collision at the plate earlier this season, folks asked him if he thought the rules should be changed to protect the catcher. He said no. If you play the position you have to love everything about the position. And that includes getting your body crushed on a play at the plate.

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More Wins, More Complete Games … and More

Three important numbers for you (if the math is correct):

  • Magic number is 4 to clinch a playoff berth.
  • Magic number is 11 to clinch the National League East.
  • Magic number is 11 to clinch the best record in the National League.

Cole Hamels threw his third complete game of the season in last night’s 7-2 victory over Milwaukee. It was the Phillies’ 17th complete game of the season. It is the most in the majors since the Orioles threw 17 complete games in 1999.

It turns out this series between the Phillies and Brewers is relatively historic. Elias Sports Bureau said it is the first four-game series between NL teams leading their respective divisions by at least eight games since Cincinnati won 3 of 4 from the Phillies at Riverfront Stadium in the final week of August 1976.

The Reds swept the Phillies in the best-of-five NLCS six weeks later.

Jimmy Rollins got a kick out of the fact last night was the first meaningful game since Sept. 12, 2004, the Phillies were without Rollins, Chase Utley or Ryan Howard in the lineup. (Stat courtesy of Philled In’s David Hale.) We say meaningful because none of them were in the lineup in the final games of the 2008 and 2009 seasons, but those games were meaningless because the Phillies had clinched the division at that point.

“We’ve always had somebody in the lineup,” Rollins said. “Actually, knowing that before the game, I was like, ‘Wow, what is going to happen tonight, knowing that none of the regulars that you normally see aren’t in there?’ But guys are getting a chance to play, which down the road is going to be very big. It was fun. They did a heck of a job.”

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Magic Number Is 2

lidge 0924 2010.jpgLots of stuff happened during tonight’s 3-2 victory over the Mets:

- 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.

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Magic Number Is 4

werth 0922 2010.jpg

A few words from Braves catcher Brian McCann:

“We knew what we were getting into coming in here. We knew who they were pitching. We’ve all faced them before and they’ve all got great stuff. They executed every pitch and when they got themselves in trouble, they got out of it. That’s what number ones do and all three of those guys are number ones.”

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Magic Number Is 1


Thumbnail image for number-1.pngIt’s amazing how much difference a Phillies victory (and a Braves loss) makes.

If the Phillies win tonight, they clinch the National League East.

Win tonight and some everyday players can get a much needed break before the playoffs. Win tonight and the Phillies can start setting up their rotation for the playoffs.

All they’ve got to do is win.

It’s Pedro Martinez vs. Brian Moehler..

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The Magic Number Is Three

phils 0927.jpgHad the Phillies lost today in Milwaukee, they still would have had a four-game lead in the National League East with seven games to play.

But they really needed to beat the Brewers at Miller Park. Like I wrote earlier today, it would be to their benefit to get hot before the postseason.

“I would say as bad as we played, we played .500 (on the 10-game road trip) didn’t we?” Charlie Manuel said. “As bad as we played … is that accepted? It will have to be, I guess.”

The Phillies will not say the NL East is won, but they need to win just three more games to clinch. Even if they finish 2-5, the Braves would need to go 7-0 to force a one-game playoff, which would be played at Turner Field. A five-game lead with seven to play is almost insurmountable.

Consider the following in two of the greatest collapses in baseball history:

  • The Phillies trailed the New York Mets by just 1 ½ games with seven games to play in 2007. They finished 4-3 and the Mets finished 2-6 as the Phillies won their first National League East championship since 1993.
  • The St. Louis Cardinals trailed the Phillies by 1 ½ games with seven games to play in 1964. They finished 5-2 while the Phillies finished 2-4 as the Phillies blew a 6 ½ game lead with 12 games to play.

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Ryan Madson is 5-5 with a 3.27 ERA and nine saves in 15 opportunities. Because Brad Lidge is 0-8 with a 7.51 ERA and a Major League-leading 11 saves and because Madson looked very good today, I would expect him to continue to close.

“Lidge will get back to where he was. I’m a firm believer in that,” Manuel said. “I don’t want to shoot Lidge. I think he’ll be back to where he was at really. Seriously. But I think right now just from a mental aspect and everything – physical and mental – he needs a little break.”

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Scott Eyre just wants the opportunity to pitch.

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It was rookie hazing day Sunday. John Mayberry Jr. and Sergio Escalona wore lady pilot costumes, while J.A. Happ wore a Superwoman contume. No, I don’t have any pictures. I think they would have wrestled me to the ground and stomped on my cell phone had I taken one.

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