Sunday, August 3, 2008

Victorino's homer leads Phillies past Cardinals

(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
It took some late heroics, but the Phillies managed to take the rubber match in their series with the Cardinals by a score of 5-4. The Phillies were shut out for the first five innings of the game as Cardinals starter Todd Wellemeyer plowed through the Phillie hitters. Chase Utley finally broke through with a solo homer in the 6th inning to get the Phillies on the board, and then Shane Victorino belted a three-run homer in the 8th to put the Phils ahead for good.

Brett Myers started the game for the Phillies and looked shaky but effective. He had trouble locating his fastball at times, but the Cardinals swung early and often at his pitches to help him stay out of jams. Myers' velocity still hasn't come back to him, although he did hit 93 on the radar gun on a few pitches. In all, Myers has to be commended for only giving up two runs and keeping the Phillies in the game. He will certainly remain in the rotation as long as he pitches like this, leaving J.A. Happ stuck in the bullpen.

Brad Lidge got his 28th save of the season, but made things very interesting in the 9th by giving up a solo homer to Troy Glaus and then loading the bases with only one out. He subsequently struck out the next two batters to end the game. He came incredibly close to blowing his first save of the season, but made some great pitches to get himself out of a jam.

With the win, the Phillies continue to open up the gap between themselves and the rest of the NL East. Both the Marlins and the Mets lost today, giving the Phils a 2.5 game lead over the Marlins and a 3 game lead over the struggling Mets. The Mets, losers of 4 straight, got some more bad news today as they placed John Maine on the DL and learned that Billy Wagner needs an MRI on his forearm. Just as quickly as the Mets jumped back into the NL East race, they seem to be fading right back out. Not that I'm counting them out, but their one big advantage the Mets had over the Phillies was their pitching staff and as the injuries mount, they are losing that edge.

The Phils are off tomorrow as they come home for a six game homestand that starts Tuesday against the Marlins. With the NL East lead on the line, it's another important series for the Phillies. After they play three against the tough Marlins, they are rewarded with a three game series against the terrible Pirates.

No comments: