Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Phillies Playoff Bound? Not So Fast.

I guess one way to solve the Phillies bullpen woes is to have their starters go the distance, which is just what Cliff Lee did last night. For the first time in a Phillies uniform, Lee had a complete game shutout and his third complete game for the Phillies.
Hopefully, Lee is out of that funk he’s been in for his past three starts where he had two losses and an ERA of 5.33. The Phillies need Lee to be on top of his game in order for them to have a chance in the playoffs. While they are seven games up in the east, I can’t help but mention the Mets blowing a seven game lead with 17 games left in 2007.
Everyone in Philadelphia remembers it because it was awesome but with 19 games left and the Phillies bullpen hurting, it feels too eerie that something could go wrong. However, after Lee’s performance last night it let me breathe a sigh of relief. Not to mention Lee is getting more run support lately (the Phillies scored a combined one run in the two losses against the Astros and Braves).
But with the Phillies bats are beginning to awaken as we enter the fall. Carlos Ruiz is batting .340 since August and playing his position well. Last night he backed up an overthrow to first and nailed the runner at second.
Ryan Howard has cooled down since his hot streak at the end of August but expect him to get better as the weather gets cooler. During the past three seasons, Howard has had an average just under 20 homeruns in August and September and no less than 50 RBI’s. So with 19 games left and 12 homeruns thus far, expect Howard to get a few jacks in the last couple home stands.
With 19 games left and series’ against Atlanta, Milwaukee, Houston, and Florida twice, it’s going to be tough for the Phillies to get back into playoffs. Houston swept the Phillies during their last series and the Marlins are going to be vying for a playoff spot. And since the starters are doing well, it’s time for the bullpen (mostly Brad Lidge) to get back into shape for this last haul of the season.
Photo Credit: (Matt Slocum/AP)

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