-Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero

-Pro Football Prospectus 2006

-Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

-Break Point!: An Insider's Look at the Pro Tennis Circuit

-Phil Gordon's Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Texas Hold'em

-How I Play Golf (Tiger Woods)

-The Last Season


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September 20 2006

You have to wonder if maybe Jamie Moyer is the guy on the Phillies who best understands how close the team is to the playoffs and how far they have to go.  Late in his magnificent start last night, you saw the 43-year-old Moyer sprint for a ball that had already bounded foul by about five feet down the third base line.  I couldn't help but wonder if Moyer had something more to offer his teammates than a big performance at a big time.  Be excellent when your team needs you, yes.  Be unhittable if you can, and give up a run every seven innings or so.  But even if you can't, keep playing.  Cause there's a lot of different ways to win in this game.  You don't need to throw the ball 94 miles an hour or hit it 450 feet.  And if you can just keep playing, you can keep the game alive long enough to create another chance and another big moment.

Last night the Phillies won without throwing the ball 94 miles an hour or hitting it 450 feet.  After two of their better hitters struck out with the bases loaded and two outs to end an inning early in the game, they found a different way.  David Dellucci, for the second time in two starts, broke a 0-0 tie with a big hit, this time an RBI-double in the fifth.  And then, again with two outs and the bases loaded, Abraham Nunez, struggling through a miserable season, looped a single into right field that would bring in all of the runs the Phillies would need.

The Phillies beat the Cubs 4-1 last night.  The win improves their record on the season to 78-73.  The Phils are, and will likely stay, in second place in the NL East.  With a win by the Padres and a loss by the Dodgers, San Diego once again leads the NL West.  Los Angeles retakes the Wild Card lead, one game ahead of the Phillies.  The Wild Card race is down to the Phils, Padres and Dodgers.  Chuck Dressen said it best: "The Giants is dead."  Just keep an eye out for Bobby Thomson.     

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies and gave the Phillies the excellent start they needed.  He went seven innings, allowing just one run on six hits.  Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run.  He did not walk a batter. 
Moyer set the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the first.
Matt Murton led off the second with a single, but Moyer got Jacque Jones to ground into a double-play.  Blanco grounded out to short to end the inning.
In the third, Ronny Cedeno led off with a double.  Moyer set down the next three to leave him stranded with the score still 0-0.
Ryan Theriot led off the fourth with a single off the glove of a diving Dellucci in right.  Ramirez was next and he flew to Burrell for the first out.  With Matt Murton at the plate, Theriot stole second as Coste attempted yet another throw from his knees.  That really doesn't work.  Maybe time to give it a shot standing up?  Murton hit a ground ball up the middle that bounced over Moyer's head, but Utley made a nice play to get Murton as Theriot went to third.  Moyer got up on Jones 0-2 but hit him, putting runners on first and third with two down for Henry Blanco.  Blanco popped out to Utley in short right to end the inning.
Moyer got the first two in the fifth before the pitcher Miller singled into center.  Moyer got Pierre to ground to second to end the inning.
With two outs in the sixth, Matt Murton hit a solo home run that cut the Phillies lead to 3-1.  Jones grounded to short to end the inning.
Blanco led off the seventh with a single and went to second on a bunt by Cedeno.  Geovany Soto struck out for the second out of the inning.  Lefty Freddie Bynum hit for the pitcher and grounded to first base to end the inning.
Aaron Fultz came in to pitch in the eighth with the Phillies hanging on to a 3-1 lead and Pierre due to bat.  The Cubs had two lefties in their lineup, Pierre and Jones.  With Pierre leading off it looks like the guy in the inning who could really hurt you is Jones in the five-hole, cause if he comes up in the inning there's ducks aboard.  So the question is really who pitches to Pierre, Fultz or Smith, and whoever the answer is the other guy will be pitching to Jones if it comes to that.  You know if you throw a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth, or even allow one man to reach, you won't have to face Jones until the ninth when Gordon will be on the mound anyway.  The Phillies went with Fultz against Pierre and no doubt would have brought in Smith to face Jones if it had come to that in the eighth.  I'm just not sure how to interpret that in terms of whether it means Manuel has more confidence in Fultz or Smith at this point.  Anyway, Pierre led off with a single.  Geary came on to pitch to the righty Theriot and quickly got behind him 3-0.  More classic Geary, at least for this year.  Instead of walking Theriot he challenged him twice.  First getting strike one and then getting him to fly to right for the first out of the inning.  In all honesty I think Geary's gotten away with the way he's pitched this year because he's given up a ton of hits by challenging all these guys but been able to keep his home runs down.  Whatever he's doing, he's been tremendous.  With Aramis Ramirez, he of the two home runs and seven RBI yesterday, at the plate as the tying run, Pierre stole second.  Really he did.  Coste didn't get him but he at least stood up to throw, so let's call that baby step number one.  Pierre's play proved to be a work of mad genius when Ramirez hit a ground ball back to Geary, which likely would have been an inning-ending double-play had Pierre been at first.  Murton grounded to short to end the inning.
Gordon came on to pitch the ninth.  He struck out Jacque Jones to start the inning before giving up a double down the third base line to Blano.  Cedeno flew out to Bourn in right for the second out and Flash struck out Mabry to end the game.  For Gordon it was his 32nd save on the year.
The Phillies lineup against righty Wade Miller went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Dellucci (6) Burrell (7) Coste (8) Nunez.  Still no Lieberthal as Coste catches Moyer.  Conine on the bench as Dellucci plays right.  Manuel again puts three lefties in a row.
Jimmy Rollins led off the first with a single.  Victorino followed and struck out.  With Utley at the plate, Rollins stole second and went to third when Rollins grounded out.  Howard walked and Dellucci was hit by a pitch, loading the bases for Pat Burrell.  Burrell struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch.
After Coste flew out to start the second, Nunez drew a walk and Moyer bunted him to second.  Rollins struck out to end the inning.
Miller struck out the side in the third, mowing down Victorino, Utley and Howard.

In the fourth, Dellucci struck out and Burrell flew to center to start the inning.  Coste singled and Nunez and Moyer both walked to load the bases for Rollins.  Rollins struck out to end the inning.
Victorino flew to center and Utley grounded out to second to start the fifth.  Howard followed with a single to left and Dellucci hit a double to center, scoring Howard to put the Phillies up 1-0.  For Dellucci, it was the second time in two starts he got the hit that put the Phillies on top in a 0-0 tie.  On Saturday his seventh inning home run off of Jason Hirsh put the Phils up 1-0 in Houston.  Burrell followed with a walk and Coste reached on an error by the shortstop Cedeno to load the bases with two down for Nunez.  Nunez singled, scoring Burrell and Dellucci to put the Phillies up 3-0.  Moyer was next and grounded to first to end the inning.  A huge hit for Nunez, who is doing a great job of late in a season in which he's been awful.
Utley singled with two outs in the sixth, but Howard struck out to end the inning.
Dellucci struck out to leadoff the seventh with the Phillies up 3-1.  Burrell was next and walked.  Manuel called on Michael Bourn to pinch-run for Burrell.  Coste flew out on a ball well hit into center,  Pierre made a nice play to track it down for the second out.  With Nunez at the plate, Bourn stole second and went to third when Soto threw the ball further away from second base than one would typically expect.  It was the first career stolen base for Bourn.  With two down and Bourn at second, Nunez struck out to end the inning.
Randall Simon led off the eighth, pinch-hitting for Geary, and flew out to left.  Rollins followed with a home run, his 22nd on the year, which put the Phillies up 4-1.  Victorino flew to left for the second out of the inning, but Utley followed with a double to center.  With Chris Roberson now hitting behind Howard, the Cubs predictably walked Howard intentionally and retired Roberson to end the inning.  The stuff about protecting Howard is a little overblown, but Chris Roberson's probably not the guy for the job at this point.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a home run.  He's on-basing .278 in his last 80 at-bats.

Victorino was 0-for-5.  He's on-basing .315 in his last 82 at-bats.

Utley was 2-for-5 with a double.  He' s on-basing .314 in his last 72 at-bats.   I'm just saying.

Howard was 1-for-3 with two strikeouts and walked twice.  He's on-basing .573 and slugging .915 in his last 59 at-bats.

Dellucci was 1-for-3 with an RBI-double and two strikeouts.  He has two big hits in his last two starts, but he's still been miserable of late.  He can really help the Phillies if he can get going and hit righties.  He's at 200/368/333 in just 30 at-bats in September.  He still should be playing instead of Conine against just about all the righties the Phils face.

Burrell was 0-for-2 with a big strikeout and two walks.  He has two extra-base hits in his last 46 at-bats.

Coste was 1-for-4 with a single.  He hit a ball hard that Pierre made a nice play on as well.  He started the first two games of the series for the Phillies and the Cubs stole five bases without getting caught. 

Nunez was 1-for-2 with a huge single and two-RBI.  He also walked twice.  In September he's hitting 273/418/341.

Brett Myers will face 29-year-old lefty Les Walrond, not Juan Mateo, tonight.  Mateo has a sore back.  Walrond has appeared in seven games for the Cubs this season, making one start.  In his 10 2/3 innings with the Cubs this year, righties are hitting .394 against him.  In 20 starts at Triple-A in the PCL he went 10-5 with a 3.99 ERA, allowing 134 hits and striking out 104 in 133 1/3 innings.

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