Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The Final Weekend

Up one and three to go, folks. The Phillies can get their magic number to one with a Phillies victory and Mets loss tonight.

The Final Weekend

The Phillies need a big start tonight from Joe Blanton
The Phillies need a big start tonight from Joe Blanton STEVEN M. FALK / Philadelphia Daily News

It's hard to believe that three teams have played 159 games and their fates rest on their finale three.

It almost doesn't seem fair.

But this weekend should be fun. The Phillies play the Nationals. The Mets play the Marlins. The Brewers play the Cubs. There is rain in the forecast in the Northeast. That could make things interesting for the Phillies and Mets, especially if there are doubleheaders.

"It's all up to us," Charlie Manuel said. "If we can't get it done, it's our fault."

Here is a look at this weekend's pitching match ups for the Phillies, Mets and Brewers:

  • Phillies righthander Joe Blanton (3-0, 4.45 ERA) faces righthander Collin Balester (3-6, 4.83) tonight. Lefthander Jamie Moyer (15-7, 3.78) takes on Washington's John Lannan (9-14, 3.86) tomorrow afternoon, and Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09) faces lefthander Odalis Perez (7-11, 4.27) on Sunday.
  • Mets righthander Mike Pelfrey (13-10, 3.70 ERA) faces righthander Chris Volstad (5-4, 3.10) tonight. Marlins righthander Ricky Nolasco (15-7, 3.55) meets a starter to be determined tomorrow afternoon. Mets lefthander Johan Santana (15-7, 2.64) takes on lefthander Scott Olsen (8-11, 4.23) on Sunday.
  • Brewers righthander Jeff Suppan (10-10, 5.06 ERA) takes on righthander Ryan Dempster (17-6, 2.99) tonight. Cubs lefthander Ted Lilly (16-9, 4.17) faces either righthander Ben Sheets (13-8, 2.98) or righthander Dave Bush (9-10, 4.25) tomorrow afternoon. Brewers lefthander C.C. Sabathia (10-2, 1.78) will pitch Sunday against a pitcher to be named.

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Here are the latest Baseball Prospectus postseason odds:

  • The Phillies have a 76.8 percent chance to win the NL East, a, 18.44 percent chance to win the wild card and a 95.25 percent chance to make the postseason overall.
  • The Mets have a 23.2 percent chance to win the NL East, a 38.60 percent chance to win the wild card and a 61.80 percent chance to make the postseason overall.
  • The Brewers have a 42.94 percent chance to win the wild card.
  • I shouldn't even mention the Houston Astros, who have a 0.02 percent chance to win the wild card. It would take the Brewers and Mets both getting swept this weekend and the Astros winning their remaining four games to force a three-team playoff. The Astros would then need to get through that gauntlet to get in. Not gonna happen.

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It's supposed to rain beginning today and ending ... never. I'm fired up about that. There is nothing that fires up a player, coach, manager or beat writer more than lots and lots of rain and endless rain delays. John Gonzalez, Bob Ford and Phil Sheridan talk about the weather.

Oh, and the anticipation of the weekend is killing Gonzalez.

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Here are some postseason scenarios involving the Phillies:

  • If the Phillies win the NL East and the Mets win the wild card, the Phillies will play the Dodgers in the NL division series.
  • If the Phillies win the NL East and the Brewers win the wild card, the Phillies will play the Brewers in the NLDS.
  • If the Mets win the NL East and the Phillies win the wild card, the Phillies will play the Cubs in the NLDS.
  • If the Phillies and Mets finish the season tied in the NL East and with a better record than the Brewers, the Mets win the division because of their 11-7 record against the Phillies. The Phillies win the wild card.
  • If the Phillies and Mets finish the season tied in the NL East, but have a worse record than the Brewers, the Phillies would play the Mets in a one-game playoff Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
  • If the Phillies, Mets and Brewers finish the season tied, the Phillies would host the Mets in a one-game playoff to decide the NL East title Monday at Citizens Bank Park. If the Phillies lose, they would host the Brewers in a one-game playoff for the wild card Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. If the Mets lose to the Phillies on Monday, they would host the Brewers in a one-game playoff Tuesday at Shea Stadium.

Got it?

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Carlos Beltran knocks in the winning run in the ninth inning in a 7-6 victory over the Cubs. ... If you're a Phillies fan or a Brewers fan, you've got to want to strangle Cubs manager Lou Piniella right about now. He had a lineup of reserves and call ups play the Mets last night. Of course, it was the bullpen that blew it. Wonder if Sweet Lou will do the same this weekend against the Brewers? ... Ryan Braun hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning to beat the Pirates, 5-1. ... Ben Sheets remains a long shot to pitch tomorrow against the Cubs, which means Dave Bush would pitch on short rest.

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The place for up-to-the-minute Phillies coverage from The Inquirer beat writer Matt Gelb and columnist Bob Brookover.

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