August 13, 2007
The pennant-race train keeps on chugging. For the Phillies, that train is AMTRAK’s and Washington, DC, is the destination. The team took the train to DC this evening.
The road trip includes six games, three each with the Nationals and three in Pittsburgh. Both teams have losing records but doesn’t mean a tiddly at this stage of the season.
The next homestand, 10 games in 10 days from August 21-30, will be a dandy as all three teams are in the hunt: Dodgers (3), Padres (3) and Mets (4).
Winning a series is key to October baseball. The Phillies just completed a homestand in which they took two of three from both the Marlins and Braves.
Playoff fever seemed to grip Citizens Bank Park this weekend for each of the three games. Games this era seem to be played in the bullpen. Both the Mets and the Braves have strong bullpens, although Octavio Dotel’s DL will weaken Atlanta’s pen.
With Tom Gordon and Brett Myers back, the Phillies bullpen is starting to fall into place. There’s certainly a lot of experience with Gordon, Antonio Alfonseca, Jose Mesa, J. C. Romero and Clay Condrey.
Scott Mathieson, Freddy Garcia and Francisco Rosario, three pitchers who are on the DL, have begun throwing programs in Clearwater. They could be September additions.
Chase was examined by Dr. Randall Culp today. Utley’s right hand was placed in a modified splint which will allow him to begin light tossing and exercising tomorrow. He will be re-examined by Dr. Culp next Monday, after which the Phillies will have another update.
Last night’s ESPN rating (9.8) was the highest TV rating for the Phillies (records date back to 1996). It eclipsed a 9.6 on Comcast SportsNet, September 27, 2006, vs. the Washington Nationals. The second-highest show for the 8-11 time period was Shark (NBC), a 6.2. Proving that pre-season NFL games are meaningless is a 3.6 rating for the Seahawks/Chargers game.
The three-day Alumni Weekend concluded with a pre-game Alumni Batting Challenge yesterday. For the details, click on: