The Philadelphia Phillies have stalled in their recent quest to gain ground on the final National League wild card spot, but they made strides tonight as they knocked off the Atlanta Braves, while the St. Louis Cardinals lost to the Chicago Cubs in 11 innings.
The Phillies are down three games to the Cardinals with just 11 to go in the regular season. The problem though is that Philadelphia also trails the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers in the wild card hunt, and even if the Phillies do manage to secure the final spot, they still have to beat (most likely) the Braves in the inaugural single game wild card playoff to even play in the NLDS.
Tonight’s game was a good one for the Phillies, as they utilized another strong pitching outing from starter Kyle Kendrick, who lowered his ERA to 3.89. The offense roughed up Braves starter Tommy Hanson, hitting four home runs – Kevin Frandsen, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Carlos Ruiz.
The bullpen was perfect too, as Jeremy Horst, Antonio Bastardo, and Jonathan Papelbon combined to throw 2.1 scoreless frames. The Phillies play Atlanta again tomorrow in the second of a three-game series that could put the Phillies just 2.5 games back in the wild card hunt. If the Cardinals lose tomorrow, the Phillies will be just two games back with 10 to go. There are still other teams in the way but it’s not an impossible achievement for the Phillies to pull off.
Stranger things have happened, as evidenced by last year’s miraculous playoff and World Series run by the Cardinals.