Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Phillies Phollow-Up

One night after Kevin Millwood coughed up a 4-0 lead en route to a 6-4 loss at Turner Field, the Phillies are in the process of trashing the Braves tonight. It's 13-2 in the sixth, and Randy Wolf seems to be in command. The Marlins, meanwhile, who are deadlocked with the Phils in the wild-card race, plated two in the top of the ninth and lead the Mets, 3-1, at Shea in the bottom of the ninth.

Jim Thome has crashed 39 homers thus far, and his two RBI tonight give him 109 on the season. His dingers are works of art, really, soaring parabolas that arc through the sky and leave vapor trails in their wakes. While conceding that Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds are the likely National League MVP contenders this year, the Inquirer's Phillies beat writer, Todd Zolecki, makes the case for Thome, saying, "Thome has been extremely valuable to the Phillies this season, posting MVP numbers on a team in the thick of the National League wild-card race." The Daily News's Marcus Hayes offers Atlanta's Gary Sheffield as the long-shot candidate.

Finally, the Inky's Jim Salisbury, writing from Atlanta, chips in with a weak effort that tries (and fails) to illustrate that despite the Braves' huge divisional lead over the Phils, the current series still means a lot to both teams. After all, the Phillies are trying to win the wild card, and the Braves are chasing individual achievements. Sorry, Jim, but the reason this was going to be so special was that it was to have decided the division winner; with that tension gone, this is a much more routine set. Important, sure -- but every game is important to the Phillies now. They could be playing the Padres and the games would -- or should -- mean something.


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