I have never seen the Phillies win 100 games. I have seen them trot out Eric Milton as an ace. I have seen them attempt to sell me Bobby Abreu as a cornerstone outfielder. I have seen them sign completely impotent free agents (insert whomever you deem the most terrible here, I pick Danny Tartabull) time after time. Now, I am witnessing them win more than any other team in baseball. They bested the Braves 4-2 tonight to reach the 100 win plateau for the first time since 1977. The only name that comes to mind when the Phillies achieve something great is Omar Daal. I can’t really put my finger as to why this middle of the road pitcher has lodged himself so completely in my subconsciousness that he has become the scapegoat for the mediocrity laced 1990′s. Omar, I can address him personally because I am almost certain he reads the blog daily, from this point on, I will leave you alone. Goodbye old terrible friend. I hope that the couch you are sleeping on is very comfortable.
Cliff Lee won his seventeenth game despite allowing hits to my two least favorite Braves; Chipper Jones and Dan Uggla. Lee did not get off to the best start allowing a homer to Jones in the first and back to back doubles in the second to put the offense in a 2-0 hole. He certainly settled down allowing only a double to Jones after the second. This had the look of a game that Lee would have finished under normal circumstances, but Charlie Manuel is in the process of setting up the postseason rotation and Lee exited the game after six innings. You’re welcome Atlanta Braves.
Michael Stutes looks to have found the confidence that Antonio Bastardo lost. His last two outings have been very encouraging as he has thrown three consecutive scoreless innings. That coupled with the fact that the rookie reliever is a dreamboat makes us all feel a little better about him in the playoffs. Brad Lidge seems to have taken over the role of scaring the shit out of everyone in the eighth inning. He did that tonight. He may have been terrifying, but he also got Chipper to ground into an inning ending double play. Unsurprisingly, Chipper is hurt again.
The offense had a bit of trouble with rookie right hander Randall Delgado. Does everyone remember when people were telling you that the Braves had a rotation that ranked just below the Phillies’ and this would carry the Braves to a division title? Randall Delgado is starting one of the most important games of the year while Tommy Hanson and Jair Jurrjens sit on the DL with injuries. Luckily the Braves have sixteen game loser Derek Lowe to count on.
Placido Polanco drove in the first run of the game for the Phils with a bases loaded single in the fourth and Jimmy Rollins tied the game in the fifth with his sixteenth home run of the season. Raul Ibanez gave the Phillies the lead and a two run cushion with singles off of the Braves lefty killers Eric O’Flaherty and Jonny Venters. Ryan Howard went 2-4 and Shane Victorino went 2-3 with two runs scored. They didn’t get a million hits like last night, but the offense performed in a game that the other team needed to win desperately.
Tomorrow Roy Oswalt throws for the Phillies as Derek Lowe stumbles to the mound for the Braves.