Phils Need Another Big Night Against New Yorkers

To say that this year's Philadelphia Phillies have been inconsistent is a gross understatement. There have been so many games that the Phils have lit up the scoreboard, only to come out flat the very next night, and vise versa. How the Phillies play tonight could go a long way when it comes to the future outlook of this season.

As of today the Phillies are 7.5 games behind the Braves in the National League East standings, and have yet to piece together a solid winning streak. With their next four games against the Mets and Expos, before a long stretch against tough American League West competition the time is now to make a dent in that deficit.

Last night the Phillies bats came alive, rocking Mets pitcher Pedro Astacio around early and often. Jimmy Rollins, Jim Thome, Placido Polanco and Bobby Abreu all homered on the night leading the team to the solid victory. When the dust settled the Phillies came away with a very impressive 11-3 victory, but some lingering questions are still unanswered.

Pat Burrell has struggled mightily this season and even though his teammates were part of an offensive onslaught, he sat and watched. From the bench Larry Bowa hoped Burrell could find what has been hindering him this year, but in all honesty, I don't know if one night's rest is enough to bring the young slugger out of his slump, but only time will tell. If Burrell is in the lineup tonight, he must take advantage of pitches he gets that he can drive, and play a more aggressive game than he has so far this year. If Burrell can follow in the footsteps of Thome, Rollins and the rest of the gang, this could be another great night, if not, well, it could be another rough night at the ballyard for the Phightins.

Last night Vicente Padilla pitched his heart out on the mound, only surrendering one run on the evening and then leaving the game in the uneasy hands of the bullpen. With the game easily in hand Hector Mercado and Terry Adams came on to close out the victory, even though the situation told the fans to relax, there were some very anxious moments in the final two frames. Adams surrendered two runs in the ninth, and who knows what would have happened had Rollins not turned the double play to seal the deal.

If the Phillies are to have another great night, they must put it all together. The hitting must pick up where it left off last night, and give ace pitcher Kevin Millwood some run support and make his job easier against the sometimes powerful Mets lineup. If and when the bullpen is summoned tonight, they must prove themselves and reverse the downward spiral that is plaguing their pitchers, or they may find themselves in triple A, or on another Major League team's roster before they know it.

It will be interesting to see which Phillies team shows up tonight. Will it be the team that scored 11 runs last night and eight last week at Shea Stadium? Or will it be the team that struggled so badly last weekend against the Expos and couldn't buy a run? My advice to the fans tonight, is to get the antacid ready and buckle up for a wild ride against two NL east rivals.

*Prediction*

Although it is hard to tell how this team will perform coming off such a solid game last night, but hopefully Millwood can win his eighth game, and put in a long outing giving the ‘pen a rest. The offense is going to be a question mark throughout the evening, but I think they will score enough runs to win the game.

Phillies 3
Mets 1


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