The official score of MLS, Pocono and Chase Utley

(David Swanson/Staff Photographer)

Glad to see the U.S. and Mexican national teams conformed to the official score of MLS, 1-1. Might as well have everyone on the same page.

THE POCONO 400? There was a time when running 500 miles separated the men from the boys in NASCAR. Now, it seems, the good ole’ boys in the stands and in the driver’s seat want to call it a day after 400. Shameful!

When Pocono announced it would cut back both of its NASCAR events to 400 miles, track officials said it was the long-stated wish of both fans and drivers.

Hey look on the bright side — this way the fans can get an earlier start on the traffic jam.

TRIVIA.  Who led the Phillies in batting average last season?

IS THIS BASEBALL? In one of the bizarre events of the new century, common sense swept over MLB headquarters on Wednesday.

The head office eliminated the unnecessary and irritating days off while the teams are in one city. (Remember last fall, when the Phillies and Reds had a day off between Games 1 and 2?)

This tightening of the schedule is to allow the World Series to end in October but the best feature is having the games of the first round on a Friday and a Saturday, allowing young kids (and old men) to see a bit of the post-season.

There was nothing like those games in a snow-swept November that threatened to go on ‘til 1 a.m. But there’s something comforting about restoring the Fall Classic to October.

MEMO TO CHARLIE MANUEL.  Brad Lidge does not belong in a close game. Give him the old Danys Baez role, when the score is 10-1, or the game is in the 14th inning.

QUOTABLE.’s Steve Rush, after enduring the interminable Yankees-Red Sox marathon on Sunday night:

“Baseball has done precisely the opposite of nearly every other human undertaking of the last century — as life got faster, baseball got slower, so that the further one goes back in baseball history, the speedier the whole enterprise becomes.”

HOT HITTING. The Phillies left Los Angeles on Wednesday night with two regulars — Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence — both batting .312.  The last time the Phils had two regulars finish the season above .300 was in 2007, when Chase Utley (.332) and Aaron Rowand (.309) did it. In 2006, Utley hit .309 and Ryan Howard hit .313.

And if you want to read some names from the past, the last time the Phils had three regulars break .300 was in 2002, when Mike Lieberthal hit .313, Marlon Byrd hit .303 and Bobby Abreu hit exacty .300.

FOR THE RECORD. On Wednesday Utley tied Tony Taylor’s franchise record of 1,003 games by a second baseman.

TRIVIA ANSWER. Carlos Ruiz, with a career-high .302.

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