Sep 10, 2008, 7:05 AM EDT
Your favorite team is just 1.5 games back of their hated rivals. With resilient play and favorable scheduling, they cut a three-game lead in half in as many days and stand on firm ground, albeit in second place, with 18 games to go.
Tuesday night featured a lot of things. Dollar Dogs. Asthma Awareness. And yes, division baseball with a chance for the Phillies to, at worst, keep pace with the Mets in hopes that a blown save here, an epic collapse there, will lead the to another division title for the Fightins.
Enter Kyle Kendrick. Four outs later, exit Kyle Kendrick.
In his defense, he did face 12 batters. It’s just that eight of them reached base, including seven who scored. He gave up seven runs on six hits while throwing just 46 pitches, 20 of which were balls. He gave up four run-scoring hits, including a three run homerun to Jorge Cantu that sealed his early exit. In those four at-bats, Kendrick threw a combined eight pitches, with two hits coming on first-pitch swings and the home run coming on his second.
Translation: you might as well have put it on a tee for them.
The Phillies offense did what the Phillies offense does, they made it close. But unlike the Mets game a few weeks back, they couldn’t overcome a deficit this large. They had their chances. After plating four runs in the sixth to make the score 10-8 Fish, the Phils were still threatening with two men on for Jayson Werth. After Jimmy Rollins stole second base, Werth was retired on a fly ball to right field. Chase Utley came to the plate needing a single to tie the game. Result? Pop-up, head down, three out.
The Phillies only had one real threat the rest of the way, as Werth came up to the plate again in the eighth with two men on. He wasn’t able to provide the drama last night as a lineout to right ended the inning.
In the ninth, the vaunted offensive prowess of Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell managed three outs, no runs and the Phils now find themselves 2.5 games behind the Mets.
But at least the hot dogs were a buck, am I right?
• The Phillies are so hard up for rotation help these days that Jamie Moyer may pitch on three days rest.
• Billy Wagner had a PC yesterday saying that he’ll be back. Next year is the last on his contract. He’ll be out for most-if-not-all of the season. Who will want a
41-year 39-year old coming off Tommy John surgery? Maybe Ed Wade? I hope this photo makes Phils fans a little happier today. (Video over at the Fightins)
• These Rays might be for real, huh? What a great story.
Dan Johnson went to bed Monday night as a Durham Bull. He will awaken today in Boston as a savior, or whatever you call a Tampa Bay Ray who hits a game-tying ninth-inning pinch-hit home run off Jonathan Papelbon in his new team’s most important victory of the year.
• Cowboys week is always a big deal in this town. Especially, writes Phil Sheridan, when both teams are good.
• Say what you want about TO, but the man is always entertaining. My popcorn is indeed ready every time TO is in front of a camera. Wade Phillips defends TO’s Usain Bolt tribute (which I liked) by taking a shot at the No Fun League.
• Steinberg has the Vegas Power Rankings up, and Birds fans won’t like this. Sixth? Tied for sixth?
• MJD says that maybe Vince Young isn’t cut out for the NFL…mentally and emotionally speaking.
• The only football team I hate more than Penn State is Syracuse. The NYT had an interesting history lesson about this old, bitter rivalry. Losing coach leaves after the season? Hell, for Syracuse he’ll be lucky to get that far.
• Things just got interesting. Remember Sarah Palin’s joke about the difference bewtween a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick. Well, check out this quote from an Obama appearance, and the GOP is NOT happy.
“You can put lipstick on a pig,” he said to an outbreak of laughter, shouts and raucous applause from his audience, clearly drawing a connection to Palin’s joke. “It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still going to stink after eight years.”
• Speaking of Palin, the Mighty Dan Gross wonders what local-girl turned NBC funnywoman Tina Fey thinks about her doppleganger.
• Video link of the day. Deadspin had something the other day about Nightmare Ant following me on Twitter (and presumably others). Skeets puts up this video of Nightmare Ant’s creepy dance moves. Enjoy.
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