Thursday, September 16, 2010

Phillies sweep Fish, take commanding 3 game lead in the NL East

It's been a long, long time since the Phillies had a comfortable lead in the NL East. While they still shouldn't get too comfortable, they certainly took another step towards a playoff berth today as they completed a sweep against the Marlins on Wednesday night in a 10-5 win. With the Braves continuing to scuffle, losing another game to the Nationals, the Phillies added another game to their lead in the NL East to give them a nice three game cushion. Not only that, the Phillies also jumped up to 2.5 games above the Reds in the race for home field advantage throughout the playoffs, something the best National League team will have since the NL finally won the All-Star game this year.

Roy Halladay did the work on the mound on Wednesday, going 6 innings and giving up 10 hits and 3 runs, a mediocre outing by his standards. Luckily the Phillies offense did plenty of damage against the Marlins, who turned this one into a bullpen game as they used 6 different pitchers with none lasting more than two and one thirds innings. While Halladay probably isn't happy with how many hits he gave up, he did pick up his 19th win of the season, the most by any pitcher in the NL and tied with C.C. Sabathia for the most in MLB.

Despite the nice three game lead, the Phillies in no way can let their foot off the gas. With the Nationals, who played the Braves tough over the last few days, coming up next and six games with Atlanta on the horizon, an offensive lull or a few bad pitching outings could make for a very stressful final few weeks of the season. With the way Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt continue to take care of business, however, the postseason seems to be more of a certainty every day. With those three the only Phillies pitchers that will take the mound against Atlanta for the rest of the season, one can't help but start looking ahead to October.

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