The 2011 Philadelphia Phillies(94-49 entering play September 12th) continue their drive to postseason and can clinch a birth in the playoffs sometimes this week. The magic number(combined wins by the Phillies and losses by the Atlanta Braves) for winning the NL East is 6 with 2 being the digit for a postseason berth(minimum), the National League wildcard. The Phillies have won 4 consecutive National League East titles as well as the World Series in 2008 but many believe the 2011 group is the best of this era. Under their current pace, they would win 106 games. This team is scary good. They win on the road(45-27, Best in MLB), have a deep rotation balanced by a strong relief corps as well as a balanced offense with nice blend of power and speed. The National League has some excellent ball clubs, regardless, this Phillies team will be a tough out in the post season.
PHILADELPHIA ASTROS: It has to be bitter sweet for ex Houston Astros stars and current Phillies RF Hunter Pence and RHSP Roy Oswalt as they can possible clinch a playoff birth in their former ballpark with the start of a 3 game series September 12-14th . Pence admits it is strange to face his old team saying, “It’s very weird,” Pence said. “I’m familiar with the field, but I didn’t kmow how to get to the visitors’ clubhouse, where to park. That whole thing was weird. And just the whole thing, I was like, ‘Man, I’m playing these guys.’ That’s a little eerie feeling.”
MIDDLE INFIELD MASH: Former NL MVP and Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins made his first start September 12th after being placed on the DL August 22nd with a left hamstring injury. He had come in as late game replacement the previous two contests. The Phillies other star middle infielder, 2B Chase Utley remains out after getting hit in the head September 7th. He has a concussion and has remained in Philadelphia to undergo further examination. Meanwhile, Rollins back up, INF Wilson Valdez has missed 2 straight games after suffering his own left hamstring injury September 10th. The team did not have any further update on either as of September 12th.
POST SEASON ROLE FOR VANCE: Whatever role Phillies manager Charlie Manuel puts him in during the postseason, rookie RHSP Vance Worley(11-2,2.92 in 21 games with 19 starts) is fine with it. “If I get thrown into the ‘pen, I get thrown in the ‘pen,” he said. “I know I can throw there. If I’m going to come out of the ‘pen, it would probably be better just sticking with the ‘pen. If they give me another spot start, then they do. But if they’re going to put me in the ‘pen, just leave me in the ‘pen then.” Manuel has not made a decision on the rookie’s role but knows he can help out either starting or in the bullpen. Worley does not care and would not require prep time in the bullpen to get acclimated before the postseason. “I’m just glad to be here,” he said. “I don’t really care what my role is. I’m just glad to be able to contribute.”
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