We are through 150 games and it is starting to come down to the wire. The Phillies sit at 89-61 with a slight 3 game lead on the 2nd place Braves. The Phillies are coming off of an incredible comeback, 9th inning victory of the Nationals that was capped off by a Jayson Werth BOMB to centerfield.
So, after the dust of this weekend has settled, the Phillies still have their 3 game lead and sit with a magic number of just 10.
Now the real test begins as the Phillies open up a 3-game series with Wild-Card leading Atlanta Braves. The division is not on the line, but a good series by the Phillies could put the Braves in a deep hole in the division. On the other hand, with a strong series, the Braves could find themselves at the top of the National League East once again. This series could go a long way determining who will be the champions of the East in the Senior Circuit.
So without any more of my ramblings, here are the pitching matchups for the biggest series of the year in the National League East.
Monday: Brandon Beachy (0-0 -.--) vs. Cole Hamels (11-10 3.01)
Tuesday: Mike Minor (3-1 5.84) vs. Roy Halladay ( 19-10 2.49)
Wednesday: Tommy Hanson (10-11 3.62) vs. Roy Oswalt (13-13 2.90)
The Phillies arranged their rotation just for this exact series. They will throw their “Big 3” as they have been known to be called (or H2O to the more scientific sort) at the Braves this week. The Phillies will have the luck of missing the Braves’ ace Tim Hudson.
However, the Phillies will face a pair of pitchers who have given them fits at times this season. In his only start against the Phillies, Jurrjens allowed just 3 runs in 6 solid innings of work. Hanson has fared a little better than Jurrjens this season posting a 2.38 ERA against the Phightins in two starts this season.
This will not be an easy series. For those of you who think that we will totally shut down these feisty Braves, think otherwise. I know some people are assuming that the Phillies will handle this series easily and it could happen, but the more likely scenario is that this will be a knock-em-down, drag-em-out fight between two of the best teams in the National League.
I will not make any predictions for this upcoming series. Look for games dominated by the starting pitchers and very low scoring, tight ballgames. Expect the bullpens to play a deep role in deciding the overall outcome. These teams know each other so well by now that there are no real surprises. They know what each team brings to the table and this is the heavyweight fight. These two teams are the best in the league, record wise, and this series is going to be a delight to watch.
Both teams have momentum and we shall see who has the divisional momentum come Friday. Hopefully the Phillies can keep their perfect home stand going.
Until we meet again Phillies fans; Happy Readings and Go Phillies!
- Johnny S.