July 5 The Inquirer
The Phillies’ 2010 season is half-over and if it feels as though their glass is half-empty, that’s understandable.
Through 81 games, they have endured a long list of injuries and a scoring drought that lasted more than a month, costing them their hold on first place.
Despite it all, these Phillies after 81 games have an identical record – 43-38 – to the two teams that went to the World Series in 2008 and 2009. The major difference is that those teams made it to the halfway point in first place.
The 2010 Phillies, even after a 3-1 win over the first-place Atlanta Braves in the searing heat at Citizens Bank Park tonight, remained in third place in the National League East.
Manager Charlie Manuel knew going into the three-game series with the Braves that this was a crucial time for his baseball team.
“I think we’ve got to win some games this week,” Manuel said. “I think we need to win tonight.”
The Phillies did need to win for a number of reasons.
With staff ace Roy Halladay on the mound against the NL East leaders, the Phillies needed to pick up a game in the standings. They did that, moving to within four games of the Braves.
A year ago, the Phillies had a two-game division lead and in 2008 they had one-game lead. This is the first time since 2007 that the team reached the halfway point not in first place. That year they were 41-40 and in third place.
The Phillies also needed to win for Halladay, who had lost four of his previous five starts, including a game at Cincinnati last week when he let an eighth-inning lead slip away. In his previous 10 starts, Halladay was 3-6 with a 3.16 ERA and the Phillies averaged just 2.5 runs per game.
On this night, Halladay made sure three runs were enough.