Sep 152011

Phillies magic number 3The Phillies have already ho-hummed their way into the 2011 postseason, but despite guaranteeing  a spot in the playoffs there’s still meaningful baseball left be played this regular season.

That’s because the National League East is still technically up for grabs.

With today’s victory over the Florida Marlins, the Phils have moved one game closer, with their magic number to clinch the division now set at three.  Kyle Kendrick got the spot start in the make up game, originally postponed due to Hurricane Irene.  The righthander went five solid innings, throwing 78 pitches and giving up only one run on two hits while walking none and striking out six.

Hunter Pence and Raul Ibanez each contributed RBI hits in another weak overall showing by the offense.  A nice bright spot was Chase Ultey, who pinch hit in the seventh, singling to center.  The Phils second baseman had missed the last seven games while recovering from a concussion.

The bats will get another chance to wake up tonight as the Phillies will play Game 2 of the Irene-inspired doubleheader against the Marlins at 7:30pm.  It’s only fitting that rain has been falling off and on all day.  The fact that these games are already rescheduled from earlier means Irene would pretty much need to come back from the tropical grave to see Thursday night’s game cancelled.

Cliff Lee will take the hill in Game 2, with a chance to move the clinching number down by one.  With the Braves idle Thursday but both teams scheduled to play Friday night, the Phillies can potentially wrap things up then if all goes according to plan.

UPDATE:  Chase Utley will start at second base Thursday night.

Keep track of the countdown (and post some fun on-topic pics) in the PSC Phillies Magic Number thread here…