Sunday, September 21, 2008

Phillies edge Marlins, stretch NL East lead

(AP Photo/J. Pat Carter)
After losing the first game to the Marlins, a game that dropped them into second place, the Phillies won the remaining two games against Florida to push back into first place in the NL East. With the Mets losing again to the Braves today, the Phils lead currently sits at 1.5 games.

The Phillies won for the 9th time in 10 games due to solid starting pitching and clutch hitting. Jamie Moyer had a strong outing, just like he always seems to have in big games, going 6 innings and only giving up 1 run. The bullpen relieved him in the 7th, and although they did give up a run in the 7th, they managed to lock it down in the 8th and 9th to preserve the victory.

Offensively, Jimmy Rollins had a nice game, going 3 for 5 with a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI. Chase Utley also hit a homer, his first since August 22nd, and Pedro Feliz added a pinch-hit two-run shot in the 8th to give the Phils a nice cushion late in the game.

With 6 games left to play, the Phillies appear to be closing in on a playoff spot. They have a 1.5 game lead in the division, and if they should falter, they would be leading the Wild Card by a couple of games as well. The Mets still have one extra game which could help them cut the gap or fall even further back. New York still has a tougher schedule than the Phils, considering they have to play two competitive teams in the Cubs (although they have clinched their division already) and Marlins while the Phillies get to play the Braves, who they have owned this season, and the last place Nationals. Here is the remaining schedule for the 3 teams battling over 2 playoff spots in the National League:

Phillies: 3 vs. Braves, 3 vs. Nationals

Mets: 4 vs. Cubs, 3 vs. Marlins

Brewers: 3 vs. Pirates, 3 vs. Cubs

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