In the Clear in August

The good news is that the Phillies don't have to play the Mets or Marlins again until the end of the month.

That could mean smooth sailing for much of August.

Cole Hamels pitched well, but took the loss because of a lack of run support.

The Phillies just can't beat their National League East rivals. They are 4-9 against the Mets and 5-7 against the Marlins, including yesterday's 3-0 loss to the Fish at Citizens Bank Park. They are 9-16 (.360) against those two teams, but 55-36 (.604) against everybody else.

They don't play the Mets or Marlins again until they play the Mets in a two-game series Aug. 26-27 at the Bank. The bad news is that they play those two teams 11 times in their final 31 games. That could mean a lot in a NL East race that could go down until the final day of the season again. But after that two-game series against the Mets, the Phillies play four at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, who are 43-16 at home. They play three on the road against the Nationals, which shouldn't be a problem, but then play 10 consecutive games against the Mets, Marlins and Brewers (a four-game series against the Brew Crew, which means there's a pretty good chance they'll be facing CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets).

That's a 19-game stretch with 16 games against the Mets, Marlins, Cubs and Brewers.

If the Phillies can get through that in good shape, you'll have to like their chances heading into their final 12 games of the season. If they don't, Phillies fans will have to hope the Mets and Marlins didn't pull too far ahead to give them a chance.


Jim Salisbury wonders how many times Cole Hamels is screaming in frustration these days.

Hamels has had poor run support this season. It started April 2, when he pitched eight innings against the Nationals and lost, 1-0. But it has really caught up to him lately. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in five of his last seven starts. He is 1-3 with three no-decisions.


In the Phillies Notebook: the Scott Eyre trade, injuries to Tom Gordon and Pedro Feliz, Ryan Howard's defense and more.


Pitching match ups for this weekend's series against the Pirates.