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Phillies Update: Philadelphia continues to lead NL East

The Philadelphia Phillies have a lot of company in the tight NL East right now leading up to the All Star break. They have the lead by a game and a half on the Marlins and Mets, as the Mets have now won six in a row, including taking three out of four from the Phils at Citizens Bank Park. The Marlins have struggled a little bit winning just five of their last ten, but they still are in the thick of the race. The Braves have fallen off the map a little bit at six games back and there is also rumors that they are shopping Mark Teixiera around, so they look like sellers at this point. Philadelphia Phillies hatsThe Phillies are looking for some more pitching pieces to make a run in the division. Rumors point to the Phils looking at Seattle ace Erik Bedard, which seems like a risk but he may just need a change of scenery to get back to his winning ways. Another name being thrown around is Toronto starter A.J. Burnett who is also a pretty risky pitcher but if the Phils can give a little they may get a quality starter to go along with ace Cole Hamels. The Phillies made a run at C.C. Sabathia, but they did not have the position prospects that the Indians were coveting so that deal fell through. So even if the Phillies get one of those pitchers they still need to do a lot of work to win the division and make a run in October. The hitting needs to get consistent, a ridiculously impressive lineup with Rollins, Utley, Howard, Burrell, Victorino, and Feliz needs to start hitting. The quality pitching that the Phillies have been getting is getting wasted due to guys not hitting the ball. Who cares that Ryan Howard leads the majors in strikeouts, he is still hitting 25 homers and driving in 80 runs which leads the team. Chase Utley is an all star but he has started to cool down dramatically in the past month. Burrell is on the verge of an all star selection. He should have been a starter on the team but I can see why he wasn’t selected. The pitching has been phenomenal recently with the exception of the Mets series. Hamels is pitching really well along with young guns J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick. The bullpen has been very solid with the exception of Tom Gordon, who just went on the DL with inflammation in his elbow. It has to get better for the Phils and maybe a trade will help that out, but they should not give up too much for mid-level pitching talent. They definitely should not trade Victorino even though Greg Lusinski is tearing up the minors now, but we will see what happens.

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Here is a quick run down of how the past two weeks went for the Phillies. As for baseball, after sweeping the Atlanta Braves. The Phils hosted the Mets in a four game set and it was not a good one. The Phils got the first and only win on a walkoff hit in extras. In the second game the game was close through the first seven innings, then the bullpen gave up five runs and blew the game 9-4. In the third game another closely contested game went to the bullpen where the Phillies gave the game up in the late innings. The Mets went on to win 4-2. In the fourth game, the Phillies battled back from a 7-0 deficit, but they still fell 10-9 in a very good game and the good thing is that the Phillies showed they could hit the ball again. Utley and Howard connected for the Phils in this game. After the set with the Mets the Phillies welcomed the Cardinals to Citizens Bank Park and they were greeted to a shutout 2-0. Ryan Ludwick and Rick Ankiel homered to spoil another phenomenal start by Cole Hamels who fell to 9-6 on the year. In the second game of the series, the Phillies got a home run by Ryan Howard to beat the Cardinals 4-2. In the day game of the three game set the Phillies have jumped on the Cardinals early with a two run home run from Ryan Howard and it is 3-1 in the top of the fifth inning. More from this game in my next report. LET’S GO PHILLIES!

 

By Andrew Nuscis
Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays Correspondent


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