“I don’t think they’ll need me for Game 1,” says Kyle Kendrick


Good to know Kyle doesn’t have any schedule conflicts for the playoffs.

I mean, I hear voices in my head a lot.  Too much.  Though any licensed therapist will tell you that any amount of dark whispers from the underworld echoing through your cerebral cortex is too many.

But I just kept hearing that kid from that Simpsons clip as we do this to the Braves.  I don’t think we’re wrong to be winning (duh), but sweet lord.

So now there’s a labyrinthine fustercluck awaiting the final game’s conclusion, as the Braves, Giants, and Padres are all intertwined in each other’s fates.  Simplest case is we and the Padres win tomorrow, the Braves are gone–some of them forever–splitting the NL West into a champion and a Wild Card-er.

The crystal clear portraits most divisions have been this year greatly contrast the twisted hedge maze this shit could turn into.  If the Braves win, and the Padres win, then all three (including the Giants) have the same record, and the Padres-Giants play to determine the NL West winner, and whoever loses that plays the Braves in Atlanta to pick a WC winner.

Or something.  I don’t care what exactly they’re all doing to each other, the way it most affects us is that in that endless scenario, the one right above this paragraph, we have to wait even longer to start feasting on post season opponents.  Some guys–Roy Halladay–don’t seem to be effected by long periods of rest or human emotions or the weather or disease.  Others, especially  those in need of getting gassed up before going on the road, may not react so well to extra days while other teams work out standings that we had figured out weeks ago.

So that could suck.  But today, and yesterday, with H2O nowhere in sight, the Phillies still held the Braves off, this time in a shut-out, starting a guy with only one other Major League start in his career, against the third-runner up for the NL Rookie of the Year last season.

Finally, finally, the scales of fate were tipping in favor of the Braves.

Phillies 7, Braves 0

Kyle Kendrick and Vance Worley hold the Braves to two runs?  Not to mention the relief efforts.  Even I’m surprised, which I guess isn’t that surprising, given that I’ll take any chance I can to hurt this bullpen’s feelings.  But Tony Bastard, Danys Baez., Ryan Madson, and Jose Contreras kept putting 0’s on the board, holding the Braves to three hits.

Now, as for the offense.  It was there, though Brooks Conrad’s second earth-shattering fuck-up in 24 hours did help greatly, but there is a point I’d like to address regarding the Phillie’s aggressive play through these post-clinch contests.

Atlanta’s bitch-machine was whirring up today after Chase Utley stole second when we were already winning 4-0.

Would I be complaining if the Braves were stealing in a blow out after they had already clinched?  Of COURSE I would.  And I would be a total douche about it, writing in all caps, looking up embarrassing stories and photos from the Braves’ past, and putting together an argumentative, fretful little pile of words.

It’s infuriating, but it’s how winning teams play–relentlessly.  Why, why would the Phillies come out after the second half they’ve had and “just give the Braves one?”

After being seven games back.  After watching assumptions be made all year long.  After injuries, and bad luck, and poor performance all summer, why would they do anything but try and slam the door on one of their greatest seasons of all time?

Okay, yeah, risk of injury.  That’s a pretty good reason.  When Chooch looked like he exploded his ankle sliding into third on a WTF steal during the clincher in D.C., I saw the world catch fire for a few seconds until he looked okay.

But if Chase Utley is out there… have you ever seen Chase Utley take his foot off the gas?  I sure as hell haven’t.  He’s probably a terrible driver, all screamin’ out the window at school children, plowing through azaleas, pulverizing patrol cars (And it’s Philly, too, so the cops are just like “Atta boy, Chase!  Got get ‘um!” from the driver’s windows of their totaled, upside down cars).

But this is the last time and place to be invoking the unwritten rules of the game.  You want to win, Braves?  So do we.  That’s why we’re winning.

Game 162 tomorrow, and guess what Braves?  The Phillies are going to show up.

So is Cole Hamels, for two innings.  Was it our intention to knock Atlanta completely out of the playoffs picture?  No.  But we’re not the ones who keep putting Brooks Conrad out there and not trapping him in a locker after the pre-game speech.