A look at the Phils' 6-3 win over the Braves, the company Vance Worley is now keeping among Phillies pitchers, the Schneider Effect, and a reward for ticket-holders to last night's game.
"The race to 90 wins is won by the Phillies!" yelped Tom McCarthy
at the end of tonight's rain-delayed 6-3 win against the Braves. It's a
race a lot of us probably didn't even realize the Phils were competing
in all that strenuously, but one we'll gladly put in the books anyway,
as the Fightins do in fact become the first team in the majors to mark
themselves as ten away from triple digits, and are now nine-and-a-half
games up on the lowly 82-win Braves, who now need an absolute act of God
to be even slightly competitive in the NL East race down the stretch
(knock on everything).
And the man of the hour, once again, is
Vance "Called Third Strike" Worley. The Fridge won his 11th game of the
season with his six-inning, two-run performance, giving the team its
mind-boggling 14th straight win in outings when V-Man takes the hill. As
has often been the case over this incredible and unlikely streak—which
is now the longest for any rookie since the Reds' Wayne Simpson in 1970
and for any Phillie since Carlton in '72—Worley was unspectacular but
good enough, giving up seven hits and three walks, but also racking up
six strikeouts, including a couple big third outs. Stutes, Lidge and
Madson combined for just one earned run in three innings of relief, and
the Braves were kept at arm's length until Ryan's third strike on final
out Dan Uggla.
The team's 3-6 hitters were huge tonight, with
Chase opening the scoring for the Phils with his first home run since
August 21st and his tenth on the season on a long shot to right-center.
Ryan and Hunter both scored two runs, with the former picking up a big
insurance tally with a groundout in the seventh, and Raul went 3-4
with 3 RBIs over the course of the evening.
But the most important player
of the night may have been someone whose contributions won't show up in
the box score—because, technically speaking, they might not actually
exist. Brian Schneider, now officially Philly's greatest good luck charm
since Kate Smith, went 0-3 to drop his average to a desert-parched .171
for the year, but once again started in a team win—the 18th straight
game the team has won with Schneider starting behind the plate. The last
time the Phils lost with the Schneid as their starting backstop? May
friggin' 7th. Holy crap, this guy.
Likely without either their pitching or catching rabbit's feet in the
lineup, the Phils face the Braves tomorrow night on ESPN with the chance
for the sweep. Winning the first two games of the series by a combined
score of 15-3 has been a nice little ego boost for our Fightins, and to
finish it with a third whomping of Los Bravos would be sweetness
personified. Roy Oswalt gets the start against Brandon Beachy in a
chance to put the Braves 10.5 games back, a lead so formidable they'd
barely even register as a smudge in our rearview mirror. Goood times.
Bonus Baseball: Ticket Reward
By the way, a note for our washed-out readers who didn't feel like
braving the elements in the Phils' two-plus-hour delay tonight—all fans
with tix for tonight's game may exchange them for a one of six selected
home games in the upcoming 2012 season. Pretty decent move for a team
that certainly doesn't need the good PR or juked attendance numbers.
US Presswire Photos