May 17, 2009, 12:44 PM EDT
Sooo perhaps that title is a bit on the confident side. Three straight wins over any team will for ya, let alone the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked, the Washington Nationals.
Entering the four-game series at an even .500, the Phils have climbed to three games up, doing what good teams do—beat bad teams. Do they have enough left in this weekend’s tank to pull off the four-game sweep? Well it’ll probably take another solid start from Chan Ho Park, which would be three in a row for him; but short of that, the Phils bats could put it out of reach by getting to Nats starter Jordan Zimmermann. The lesser of two Zimms has struggled after starting off hot, and his ERA has risen to nearly 6. In Zimmermann’s last three starts, he’s given up 5, 6, and 5 earned runs. I’m sure he’s absolutely thrilled right now thinking about how the Phillies haven’t scored less than 7 runs in this series, and that includes last night’s game, which was called for rain with Ryan Howard up and the bases loaded. Yeah I bet he got a lot of sleep last night.
Okay so maybe the confidence has become overconfidence at this point. Here’s hoping the Phils aren’t feeling the same way this afternoon. Similar to what we saw last season, this group plays better when things look a little bleak. Down late in the game, they’re resurgent. Up five runs when the closer comes in? Let’s give a few back before ending it. So today could be a good test of how they’ll play when, aside from their fifth starter getting the call, there is very little reason they should lose today. Well, that and… it’s baseball. The better team doesn’t always win.
As of this posting, there’s no word yet on the lineup. But, after a doubleheader yesterday, it’s likely that a starter or two will be rested for today’s game. Charlie’s done a good job of mixing up the order to match the personnel in this series, overcoming some shaky play from his bench.
Game time’s 1:35.
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