Some double-header, huh? Whether your thing is more come-from-behind wins thanks to last-second heroics or suspense-less blowouts where business gets taken care of early, yesterday probably left you feeling pretty good about being a fan of the Fightins. After the two wins over the Marlins, combined with the Braves getting shut out by a group Mets effort from Dillon Gee, D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Parnell and Francisco Rodriguez (snicker), we are now five games up in the NL East, and an incredible 10.5 games above Florida, once considered the greatest threat to the Phils' division supremacy. Nice.
And now, for a final act, the Phillies look to close out the four-gamer against the Marlins and beleaguered starter Javier Vazquez. After a Cy Young-caliber season for the Braves two years ago, Javy has struggled to achieve anywhere near that level of success with his next two teams–the Yankees last year, and the Marlins in 2011, for whom he has a 3-6 record and a 7.09 ERA (yikes!) Vazquez is walking more people and striking out less, and has gone more than six innings only once in his 13 starts this year. The last time the Phils saw Javy, they roughed him up for six runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings, which is about par for the course for Vazquez these days. We couldn't ask for a better guy to go for the sweep against.
Meanwhile, taking the mound for the good guys is Cliff Lee, on something of a tear since experiencing one of his roughest starts of the season a few weeks ago in Washington. In his last two outings, Cliff has pitched a combined 15 innings, given up just 1 run and struck out 17 batters, as he and rotation co-anchor Roy Halladay continue to pass off the league lead in Ks to one another like a couple of LeBron Jameses in the fourth quarter. (Ho!) With our offense finally starting to come around a little, if our rotation keeps up the work they've been putting in lately, five games could be absolutely nothing compared to just how far we can pull away in this division.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here. Early 1:05 start from CBP against the Fightin' Fish. A note, though—through 69 games last year, we were 37-32, six games behind our 43-26 start to this season. And we ended up winning 97 games last year. Just sayin'…