Sitting in his Citizens Bank Park office at the start of a tough 26-game stretch on August 19, Charlie Manuel said: “We just need to hang in there until September 15 and we’ll be in good shape.”
The next 26 games on the schedule were against the Nationals (6), Dodgers (4), Mets (5), Cubs (4), Marlins (3) and Brewers (4). No vacation games by any stretch of the imagination.
This morning, the Phillies were a game behind the Mets in the East and tied with the Brewers in the wild card thanks to a 17-9 record in those 26 games.
Yesterday’s sweep of Milwaukee was a day to remember:
**The Mets’ bullpen coughed up a 9th-inning lead that produced another loss.
**Five Phillies pitchers held the Brewers to seven hits and four runs in the DH sweep.
**Pitching on three days rest, Brett 2-hit the Brewers in a complete-game gem.
**J-Roll reached base 5 straight times in the second game.
**Shane had 5 consecutive hits, including a big 3-run homer in the first game.
**Pat broke out with a big, big RBI single in the first game and a towering homer in the second.
**Chase Utley laid down a sacrifice bunt.
**Rally towels produced a sea of white in the second game, bringing back memories of last year’s final games.
**The Astros and Phillies began the day tied for second in the wild card race. Houston was no-hit by the Cubs’ Carlos Zambrano in Milwaukee’s Miller Park.
**Yes, because of hurricane Ike, Houston’s canceled home games (Saturday and Sunday) with the Cubs were shifted to Milwaukee, nearly 1,200 miles away.
**Milwaukee starts a huge three-game series in Wrigley Field tomorrow. The Brewers are in Chicago today watching the Cubs play the Astros in Milwaukee.
**The Phillies? Packing day for a 6:15 p.m. charter flight to Atlanta.
The September Stampede continues.