Back in Phirst Place
A couple fans hoisted similar signs after the Phillies’ win last night. The Phillies were in first place the day before Memorial Day and didn’t get back there until the day after Labor Day.
Injuries and inconsistent play kept them from the top but to their credit, the players battled and hung in there. Then last night, the Phillies became the first NL team to reach 80 wins. Amazing.
Since July 21 when they were seven games behind the Braves, the Phillies are 32-14, best in the NL.
The offense looked like itself last night….home runs, extra base hits, stolen bases. The Big Piece had a double up the left-center field alley and a home run to left. That’s a good signing when he’s going the other way.
On the pitching end, Joe did a good job as the starter but the bullpen had a meltdown. The Marlins’ game-tying run came on a single, error, balk and wild pitch. Madson was charged with a blown save because of his wild pitch but the Phillies manufactured a game-winning run on a single, steal and single. Unnoticed in the end was Durbin’s two-thirds of an inning in which he kept the Marlins off the scoreboard with runners on first and third and one out in the seventh. He should get a save.
It wasn’t easy getting back to the top of the division. Staying there will be even harder. 22 games left in the regular season.
Two veterans have hit milestones that will someday land them in Cooperstown, NY.
Trevor Hoffman recorded his 600th save last night, the first reliever ever to reach that number. The Brewers are out of the race but the fans (over 33,000) were there. After the final out, Hoffman was mobbed by his teammates, the crowd stood and cheered and cheered and even a couple of Cardinal players were applauding in their dugout. Along the way to 600 saves, #100 came against the Phillies at Veterans Stadium on April 13, 1997. He’s had 29 career saves and five blown saves against the Phillies.
Old friend Jim Thome homered again, #586, which ties Frank Robinson for 8th place on the all-time list. He’s hit four in the last three games. One of his milestones came at Citizens Bank Park, #400 pm June 14, 2004.