Phillies get split in Florida Magic # is 5by Joseph Birmingham
The Phillies traveled to Florida to play the Florida Marlins a rare double header. Joe Blanton came out and threw another quality start in the first game pitching 7 innings of shutout ball. The Phillies offense secured the win with an assortment of seeing eye hits, good fielding, baserunning and steals.
Ibanez did hit a late home run but that only accounted for 1 of the 9 runs the team scored in the first game, the rest came on singles and groundouts, a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly as the Phillies scattered 11 hits overall to beat Florida 9-3 in the opener.
Blanton has had 15 quality starts in his last 16 games, allowing 4 runs or less and raising his record to 11-7. In his last two starts he has pitched 13 consecutive shut out innings and lowered his ERA to 3.82. The Phillies reduced their magic number to clinch to 5.
Howard and Werth both had RBI singles and Jimmy Rollins continued his recent offensive upsurge with a sacrifice fly that scored a run as well. Despite 16 strikeouts and going 2-11 with runners in scoring position and having a lone 1 run home run, the Phillies made the victory look easy.
As the season winds down, the Phillies have little left to prove. The Braves and Marlins who both could have challenged for a wild card spot have all but vanished in the past few weeks when facing the NL East leading Phillies who improved their season record to 88-62 which represents their best winning percentage since 1993.
Jamie Moyer returned from the bullpen to get a rare late season start, but you can be sure Manuel was aware of his numbers in Florida. Moyer had a career record of 13-3 against the Marlins and a 8-0 record with a sub 1.00 ERA at their ballpark. Moyer had a strong outing, allowing 3 runs in 7 innings with 5 strikeouts and a walk, but the Phillies bats fell uncharacteristically silent as Florida rookie Anibel Sanchez pitched a masterful 2 hit shutout through 8 innings and the Marlins dealt Moyer his first loss in their home stadium.
The Phillies evening loss was also the first team loss in Florida all season. Their magic number remains 5, but we all know it is only a matter of time.