Last night our Phightin Phils became the first team of the 2011 season to reach 80 wins by taking the rubber match with the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1. Surprisingly though, in franchise history there was a Phillies team that reached 80 wins faster than this team. The 1976 Phillies hold that record. It took a bit longer than expected though to get this win, after 3 innings Vance Worley was rolling along and the Phils were leading 3-0, then the rain came. The rain delay forced Worley out of the game but David Herndon who has had his share of struggles this year, did a great job going 3 shutout innings. The Phils only scored 4 runs, but with the way the bullpen pitched after the delay and how Worley pitched before it, we didn't need a lot of runs. John Mayberry continued to impress as in the bottom of the 3rd he jacked his 10th homer of the year to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. Raul Ibanez also had a good game going 2-4 with 1 run scored and 1RBI. It was a huge game for Raul as he was only hitting .069 in his past 8 games. I'm thinking that deserves a RAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUULLLLLL.
The Phils bullpen did a great job last night, after Herndon pitched those 3 shutout innings, Mike Stutes went one inning and looked ok despite giving up a run, and then Antonio Bastardo had a perfect 8th inning to set things up for the Mad Dog, A.K.A Ryan Madson. Madson shut down the D-Backs and picked up his 23rd save of the season.
Two key pieces to this team were out of the lineup tonight, Ryan Howard with a strain in his hand, and Carlos Ruiz out after he took a ball to the balls in the first game of this series. Rest up Chooch, and make sure you have lots of ice....lots and lots of ice. As for Howard, well it's basically nothing. Ryan said it himself, he doesn't think it's worth getting an MRI for it and I'd assume he'd be back for the 2nd game of the upcoming Nats series if not back for tonight's game.
Unfortunately our rivals on the Bay, the San Francisco Giants couldn't help us out by winning their series vs the Atlanta Braves. I know that might sound greedy because the Phils do have a 8.5 game lead, but in baseball, you never know, so keep on pouring it on Phillies, don't let them have any hope of coming back to win the division.
The Phils will send Roy Oswalt, Kyle Kendrick, and Roy Halladay to face the Nats for this weekend series. Cole Hamels is out with inflimation in his left shoulder, yes I know, last thing us Phillies fans wanted to hear. The good thing is though he'll throw a bullpen session today and should return to the rotation sometime next week. I'll settle with Kendrick for a start if it means we have Cole for the stretch drive. LET'S GO PHILS!