The good news: the usually hapless Mets whipped the Braves 12-2 Friday night.
That means the Phillies magic number to clinch the division is now down to one. Each Phillies victory or Braves loss reduces the number, so the next Phillies win or Braves loss wraps up the division.
That win almost occurred Friday, but the offense failed starter Vance Worley, who went six solid innings, giving up a run on six hits. In 11 total innings, the Phillies managed just two runs on seven hits. It’s the eighth straight game the team has scored three runs or fewer. And that two would have been one if not for a small ninth-inning rally started by pinch-hitter Ryan Howard to tie the game and send it to extras.
So the celebration will have to wait. Roy Oswalt will get the chance to nail the division shut tonight at 7:05. Follow the game and post in the PSC Phillies Gameday Thread here.
Though with the Braves playing at 4:10 on Saturday, the Phillies could technically clinch before first pitch. That means champagne could be flowing right before game time, with the Phillies going old school and playing the game all boozed up. With the letdown of not being able to celebrate on the field, the fans would at least get their money’s worth out of that spectacle.
OK, maybe not, but if the Braves lose it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see some last minute scratches. Whether it’s for rest, injury concerns or for being shitfaced, we’ll likely never know.
HOWARD’S ANKLE AILING
Ryan Howard, who has only started four of the Phillies past 10 games, continues to deal with a sore left ankle. Specifically, it’s bursitis in the Achilles tendon.
“It’s sore,” Howard said, per Todd Zolecki. “There are days it’s looser than others, and there are some days it’s stiff. The one constant has been the soreness. I’m trying to get that out.”
Anyone watching Howard run the bases with a piano on his back and like the baseline is made of eggshells would know he was hurting. Howard said a cortisone shot is a possibility, especially once the division is officialy clinched, but for now rest is key. Luckily, Howard can continue to pinch hit as the injury isn’t impacting his at bats.
“It doesn’t really affect me in my stance,” he said. “It’s more so just running, my motion sometimes. As far as being at the plate it doesn’t affect that much at all.”
PHILLIES RECALL BROWN, OTHERS
Likely as a sign that some rest is coming for the regulars once the Phillies clinch the NL East, the team has added some bodies to the bench while the season is played out. The biggest name is outfielder Domonic Brown, who has been down in Triple-A Lehigh Valley trying to remember how to hit and to learn how to play left fied.
Also brought up were right-hander Justin DeFratus, catcher Erik Kratz, left-hander Joe Savery, and outfielder Brandon Moss, all from Lehigh. All these players were unfortunately available since the IronPigs were just beaten by the Columbus Clippers for the Governor’s Cup.
This will be the first call up for both De Fratus and Savery.
While the team can call up extra players post-September 1, corresponding moves do need to be made to make room on the overall 40-man roster. As such, the club designated for assignment right-hander Drew Naylor and left-handers Mike Zagurski and Juan Perez.
Keep track of the magic number countdown (and post some fun on-topic pics) in the PSC Phillies Magic Number countdown thread here…