Jul 282010

July 28 Philadelphia Inquirer

“The 9-5 victory over Arizona on Tuesday night was the sort of game the Phillies would have lost a week ago.

Their starter, Cole Hamels, lasted just five innings at Citizens Bank Park, meaning Charlie Manuel needed 12 outs from a depleted and ineffective bullpen. Twice in the middle innings, the Phillies blew a lead. Then, in the seventh, they suffered yet another injury, this one to Shane Victorino.

A week ago, the Phillies were teetering on the edge of falling too far behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East. Now?

“We just felt like we could win this game,” Ryan Howard said. “And we went out there and did it.”

Coupled with Atlanta’s loss to Washington, the Phillies moved 3 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East, the closest they’ve been since June 30. Their six-game winning streak is the longest of the season for the Phillies, who are peaking at such a crucial time with key decisions to be made before Saturday’s trading deadline.

But those decisions may have been complicated even further when Victorino left Tuesday’s game with a strained muscle in his left side. The centerfielder will have an MRI exam on Wednesday morning to determine the severity of the injury.

Victorino was hopeful it would not require a stint on the disabled list.

“I don’t think it’s that bad,” he said. “I hope it’s not that bad. I won’t know until I take the MRI. It’s something there. An oblique injury is one of those things guys say don’t play with.”

If Victorino is significantly hurt, it could change everything for the Phillies. Jayson Werth, the subject of constant trade rumors, would almost certainly remain a Phillie. (Although even before the injury to Victorino, the Phillies appeared to have softened their stance on moving Werth.) And it could force the Phillies to summon top prospect Domonic Brown from triple-A Lehigh Valley.”

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