New York Invasion

The Phillies and their fans invaded Queens this past weekend, including the Phillies Nation bus trip on Saturday where a fight was shown in their section by Comcast. After dropping the first game thanks to some poor pitching by Cole Hamels, the Phillies bats exploded as they handled the Mets to win three of four games during the series.

Thankfully Hamels has been the worst pitcher of the four who will make up the playoff rotation. He will pick his game back up when he’s needed in the clutch. He hasn’t been pressured all year due to a lack of competition in the division so I am confident he will be fine come October.

This series saw some great pitching, a lot of errors, a lot of pop from the Phillies line up, and even an unassisted triple play to end Sunday’s game by Eric Bruntlett. Pedro Martinez earned a win in his home coming to New York and even tallied a hit.

Friday – Mets won 4-2: Hamels lasted five innings and got the loss as he surrendered four runs on 10 hits. He allowed a home run to Jeff Francoeur, who had a pretty good series versus the Phillies. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard had two hits apiece for the Phillies.

Saturday – Phillies won 4-1: After Tim Redding dominated the Phillies, he was pulled due to a pitch count. Chase Utley capitalized with a two-run homer that gave the Phillies the lead for good. Brad Lidge earned his 24th save.

Sunday – Phillies won 9-7: This was one crazy game. After the Phillies jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first thanks to three homers by Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz, the Mets answered back. Martinez pitched six solid innings as the Mets stayed in it the whole game. In the bottom of the ninth with a 9-7 score and no outs, Francoeur hit a line drive with runners on first and second to Bruntlett who caught the ball, stepped on second, and tagged out Daniel Murphy for the game ending unassisted triple play. Lidge earned his 25th save.

Monday – Phillies won 6-2: There was no drama in this game but plenty of errors. The Phillies and Mets combined for five errors in the game. Cliff Lee pitched very well despite giving up two runs, none earned. He went seven innings and allowed six hits and struck out five.

Series MVP’s:
Ryan Howard: 5-19, 4 R, 2 HR, 6 RBI
Chase Utley: 5-12, 4 R, 2B, HR, 2 RBI
Eric Bruntlett: 4-9, R, unassisted triple play

Next Series: Philadelphia Phillies (72-50, 40-21 on road) @ Pittsburgh Pirates (51-71, 33-28 at home)

Phillies lead series 3-0. This series is almost as predictable as the last. The Pirates will be seeing a Phillies offense that has just caught fire again. If they keep up this tear, this can be a very easy three wins as the Phillies look to expand on their seven and eight game leads on Atlanta and Florida respectively.

The Pirates offense is at a low as it is 12th in average and 13th in runs scored in the NL. The Phillies are 11th in average but climbing while they sit on top of the NL in scoring. As far as pitching, the Phillies ERA has dropped some more as they now sit sixth in the NL while the Pirates are 13th.

This should be another easy series for the Phillies as they find themselves in a race with Los Angeles for the top seed in the NL. Sports Illustrated still thinks the Dodgers are the best team in baseball and the way they Phillies are playing, they are proving them otherwise. I expect a sweep of the Pirates as the Phillies get set to come home versus Atlanta.

Pitching Probables:
Tuesday: PHI: Blanton (8-6, 3.86), PIT: Ohlendorf (11-8, 4.15)
Wednesday: PHI: Hamels (7-8, 4.78), PIT: Maholm (7-7, 4.74)
Thursday: PHI: Happ (10-2, 2.59), PIT: Morton (3-6, 5.21)
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