Friday, September 16, 2005

Where will the Phillies finish?

This is an amazing race and the reason that the wild card is so good for baseball. The Phillies, Marlins and Astros could take this down to the final day of the season.

So, what's going to happen?

When they met last week at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies did not have to face the Marlins two best pitchers, Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett and the Phils took two out of three. It's safe to say the Marlins have the advantage when the three-game series begins tonight. They will send out Brian Moehler (6-9, 4.00 ERA) tonight, followed by Willis (21-8, 2.49) and Beckett (14-8, 3.53). The Phillies will counter with Jon Lieber (14-12, 4.42), Vicente Padilla (8-12, 4.67) and Eude Brito (1-0, 1.72).

The Phillies showed heart going 5-2 against the Braves and Marlins in the last week. Certainly, they will need a similar result. With 15 games remaining, it is doubtful that anything worse that 8-7 will have a chance to win the wild card.

While the fans stayed away from the Cit during this homestand, there is no question it still is better to play at home than on the road. The Phillies are 45-33 here and and 33-36 everywhere else this season. There are 12 road games remaining and only three at home against the Mets on Sept. 26-28.

It's gut-check time.

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