The Phillies officially are in the Wild Card hunt. While the division is still within reach, the way the Mets are playing (Where did this Carlos Delgado come from??), 2.5 games looks like five games. Meanwhile, with a four game set against the Brewers beginning tomorrow, the Phillies could play themselves into the Wild Card lead by the end of the weekend.
Milwaukee currently leads the Phils by three games in the Wild Card, but a familiar gurgling sound can be heard emenating from the great state of Wisconsin. The Beermeisters have lost seven of nine, and have a brutal schedule the rest of the way. By brutal I mean six games against the Cubs to go with their four-game set against the Phils.
Here are the four teams currently in the wild card hunt, along with their remaining opponents (after tonight):
1. Milwaukee, 82-63, 0 games behind: Cubs 6, Phillies 4, Reds 3, Pirates 3
2. Phillies, 79-66, 3 GB: Brewers 4, Braves 6, Nationals 3, Marlins 3
3. St. Louis, 78-66, 3.5 GB: Reds 7, Diamondbacs 4, Cubs 3
4. Houston, 78-67, 4 GB: Pirates 4, Cubs 3, Marlins 3, Reds 3, Braves 3
Have had a number of emails asking why Manuel didn't pinch-run Greg Golson for Matt Stairs in the sixth inning. I wondered the same thing as Stairs was stopping at third on Rollins double and holding on a fly-out by Jayson Werth.
Manuel said after the game he didn't want to sub in Golson because it was still early and he thought they might need him later on. But I'm sure in hindsight he wishes he had put Golson in there. There's a good chance the score could have been 10-9 after that inning and instead of playing for two runs the Phils would have been playing for one.
I can't fault Manuel for leaving Kendrick in the game for the second inning. In the end, these are the pitchers he has to work with, and he can't just yank them out after the first inning at the first sign of trouble. I think Manuel's displayed a pretty quick hook with guys this season, particularly Kendrick, Blanton and Eaton. I don't think a lot of managers would have pulled Blanton with no out and bases loaded in the fifth and two runs on the board. But I could be wrong.
The Phils absolutely need a long outing out of Myers tonight. The bullpen pitched 7 2/3 yesterday and will likely be needed to pitch a decent amount tomorrow night with either Moyer going on short rest or another unproven commodity on the mound.