The Phillies are heading to the playoffs as division champs once again. A grand slam from Pedro Feliz in game two helped get things going in the right direction and the Phils clinched the NL East with a decisive 10-3 win in game three of a four-game set with the Astros.

A few guys clearly need some rest for the Phils, but the team is plugging along offensively. The pitching, on the other hand, is a mess. The bullpen pitched well in the series, but the ninth inning has been an adventure and seems guaranteed to be for some time to come. The starting pitching is suddenly awful. The Phillies don’t have a quality start in their last nine games. Over those games their starters have combined to throw to a 6.26 ERA and a 1.61 ratio. In five of their last six and six of their last eight games their starting pitcher has thrown less than six innings.

The Phillies are 92-67 on the season after splitting a four-game series with the Houston Astros. The Phils have won the division and currently are second among the four NL playoff teams with 92 wins. All four of the Phils, Cards, Dodgers and Rockies have three games to play. LA has 93 wins and the Rockies and Cards each have 91. The Phils will play the Dodgers or the Rockies in the first round of the playoffs. The Dodgers lead the Rockies by two games with the teams set to play a three-game series this weekend.

The Phillies lost the first game of the series 8-2. Rollins put the Phils up 1-0 in the bottom of the first as he singled, stole second and came in to score on a sac fly by Utley. Hamels kept Houston off the board until the fourth, when the Astros tied the game at 1-1 on three singles and walk. Three of the first four Houston batters reached in the sixth and the Astros scored two more to extend their lead to 3-1. Victorino doubled with one out in the bottom of the sixth, moving to third on a ground out and came in to score on a balk to make it 3-2. Houston blew it open in the seventh. Hamels got the first two batters in the frame before allowing two singles, a stolen base and walking the next hitter intentionally. Walker took over for Hamels and was awful again, allowing a two-run double, a walk and a single before Condrey took over. Condrey allowed a two-run single before striking out JR Towles to end the five-run inning with the Phillies down 8-2. With two outs and nobody on, seven straight Astros reached in the frame.

The Phils got a huge win in game two, topping Houston 7-4. With the help of a loss by the Braves the win helped reduce their magic number to one. Lance Berkman homered off of Happ with two outs in the third to put the Astros up 1-0. Bako led off the bottom of the third with a walk and came in to score on a double by Rollins, tying the game at 1-1. Howard, Ibanez and Werth got on board to start the fourth before Feliz delivered an enormous blow, hitting the first pitch of his at-bat from Wilton Lopez out to left for a grand slam that put the Phils up 5-1. Houston got another run off of Happ in the top of the fifth on two singles and a catcher’s interference to make it 5-2. Werth hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth and it was 7-2. Kaz Matsui got Happ for a two-run shot as well in the top of the sixth. 7-4. Moyer came on in relief of Happ in the top of the sixth. He got the last out and returned for the seventh, injuring his groin as Jeff Keppinger flew to center for the third out. Madson worked the final two innings to earn the save.

The Phils clinched the NL East with a 10-3 win in game three. The Astros loaded the bases in the first on three singles before Pedro walked Pence with two outs to force in a run an put Houston up 1-0. Rollins started the bottom of the first with a double and came in to score on a ground out by Utley to tie the game at 1-1. JR Towles hit a solo shot off of Martinez in the top of the second, putting Houston on top again at 2-1. Towles did it again in the top of the fourth to make it 3-1. Martinez left after four innings, but Kendrick came on next and was fantastic in relief. He struck out four in three scoreless innings while the Phillies broke the game open. Two singles, a walk, a double by Feliz and a costly throwing error by Astros starter Brian Moehler helped the Phils score four runs in the bottom of the fourth, putting them on top at 5-3. Back-to-back triples by Rollins and Victorino to start the fifth helped the Phillies score two more. 7-3. An RBI-double by Ruiz in the sixth brought in Feliz and made it 8-3. Ibanez hit a two-run shot in the seventh and it was 10-3. Eyre got the first two outs in the ninth before Brad Lidge came in and got Berkman to ground to first to end the game.

The Phillies lost last night’s game 5-3. Berkman put the Astros up 2-0 with a two-run double off of Lee in the top of the first. Francisco doubled in the fifth and came in to score on a single by Rollins to cut the lead to 2-1. The Phils couldn’t get any more in the inning, though, as Werth grounded to short with the bases loaded to leave all three runners stranded. Tejada hit a two-run shot off of Lee in the top of the sixth to make it 4-1 and Houston added a run on three singles off of Myers in the seventh. Down 5-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies got a two-out double from Feliz. 5-3. Tracy followed with a single that moved Feliz to third and put the tying run on base, but Cairo flew to center to end the game.

The Phillies threw 36 innings in the series with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.47 ratio.

The starting pitching was bad. 6.14 ERA and a 1.68 ratio over 22 innings. Five home runs allowed — two against Happ, two off of Martinez and one off of Lee.

Hamels got the start in game one. He was strong early but ended up with an ugly line, allowing six runs over 6 2/3 innings on nine hits and three walks while striking out five. Six starts in September for Hamels — three were good and three were bad. Two bad ones in a row have him allowing ten runs on 17 hits and three walks over 13 2/3 innings in his last two starts (6.59 ERA and a 1.46 ratio). His line would have look a whole lot better if he had gotten Bourn with two outs and nobody on in the top of the seventh. He’s keeping people in the yard these days, which is a good sign. In six of his last seven starts he hasn’t allowed a home run.

Happ went 5 2/3 innings in game two, allowing four runs on nine hits and a walk. Only three of the runs were earned and he struck out six. He has a 3.77 ERA over his last three starts, but hasn’t pitched nearly that well. He’s allowed 20 hits and three walks over 14 1/3 innings (1.60 ratio). After walking lots of hitters for most of the season, he hasn’t walked two or more in a start any of his last six times out. He’s allowed too many hits in those six starts, though, 35 in 28 1/3 innings. Seven of the hits have been home runs. That’s too many, too. Seven home runs over 28 1/3 innings would have him on a pace to give up about 49 homers over 200 innings.

Pedro started game three and went four innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk. He gave up a pair of home runs to Towles. He’s allowed more than three runs in a start just once as a Phillie, he allowed four against the Mets on August 23, but has gone five innings or less in five of his nine starts.

Lee went 5 2/3 in game four, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk. One of the runs was unearned. He’s allowed 11 runs in 11 2/3 innings over his last two starts. He’s also given up three home runs — he’s allowed just 17 home runs in 231 2/3 innings on the year. The 231 2/3 innings he’s thrown on the year is fourth in all of baseball. That’s not good.

The pen pitched well. They threw 14 innings with a 1.93 ERA and a 1.14 ratio. Walker was awful in game one, but came back to throw a 1-2-3 inning last night. Madson had a nifty two inning save in game two. Kendrick sparkled in relief of Martinez in game three. Myers had a worrisome outing last night.

Eyre started the ninth inning of game three with the Phillies up 10-3. Making his first appearance since September 7, he faced two batters and retired them both. He has been charged with two runs in 32 appearances since the end of April.

Romero pitched the eighth inning of game one with the Phils down 8-2. He allowed back-to-back singles with one out before getting the next two hitters to leave the runners stranded.

Escalona pitched the ninth inning last night with the Phils down 5-1 and set the Astros down in order. He’s been charged with runs in two of his 12 appearances on the season, but appears to have little chance to be on the post-season roster.

Moyer took over for Happ in the sixth inning of game two with two outs, nobody on and the Phillies up 7-4. He got Miguel Tejada on a fly ball to center to end the frame. He came back for the seventh, too. He walked Hunter Pence with two outs before getting Jeff Keppinger on a fly ball to deep center field. Moyer fell to the ground after delivering the pitch to Keppinger and left the game with a strained groin.

Kendrick was awesome in game three. Pitching in relief of Pedro, he went three scoreless innings in which he allowed two hits and struck out four. He has a 2.66 ERA and a 1.27 ratio in 23 2/3 innings for the Phillies this season. He allowed three runs in two innings to the Red Sox in his first appearance of the year — since then he’s thrown to a 1.66 ERA.

Walker took over for Hamels in the seventh inning of game one with two outs, men on first and second and the Phils down 4-2. He gave up a two-run double to Carlos Lee and then walked Hunter Pence. It put men on first and second with two down for Jeff Keppinger and Keppinger reached on an infield single to load the bases. Condrey took over for Walker to pitch to Kaz Matsui.

Second straight terrible outing in a row for Walker — over his last two appearances he had allowed four runs on four hits and a walk without getting an out. It’s raised his ERA on the year from 2.23 to 3.34. His ratio went from 1.05 to 1.21.

He got another chance in game four and pitched better. He started the eighth with the Phillies down 5-1 and set the Astros down in order.

Durbin pitched the eighth inning of game three with the Phillies up 10-3. He walked Matsui with one out but got the next two. He has a 1.98 ERA in nine appearances in September, but hasn’t pitched nearly that well. In 13 2/3 innings he has walked eleven.

Condrey entered game one in the top of the seventh with two outs, the bases loaded, the Phils down 6-2 and Matsui at the plate. Matsui delivered a two-run single before Condrey struck out JR Towles to end the frame.

Condrey also pitched last night, entering the game in the sixth inning with two outs, men on second and third and the Phillies down 4-1. He hit Humberto Quintero with a pitch before pinch-hitter Aaron Boone flew to center to end the frame.

Condrey hasn’t been charged with an earned run in any of his last ten appearances. In seven innings he’s allowed five hits without walking a batter.

Myers started the seventh inning of game four with the Phillies down 4-1. Bourn led off with a bunt single, went to second on a passed ball and was bunted to third. Tejada followed with a single that scored Bourn and made it 5-1. Berkman was next and he singled as well, putting me on first and second with one out. Pence hit into a double-play to end set Houston down.

It was the first appearance for Myers since September 12.

Lidge pitched the ninth inning of game one with the Phils down 8-2. He got the first two before he hit a batter and allowed a single. He got Jason Michaels to ground to third to leave both men stranded.

Lidge also pitched in game three, entering in the ninth inning with two outs, nobody on and the Phillies up 10-3. He got Berkman to ground to first to end the game and clinch the division for the Phillies.

Madson entered game two in the top of the eighth with the Phillies up 7-4. He threw a 1-2-3 eighth and came back for the ninth. Matsui led off the ninth with a single before Tejada flew to right for the first out. Berkman reached on a single just out of reach of Rollins, moving Matsui to second and bringing Lee to the plate as the tying run. Lee struck out swinging and Madson got Pence swinging to end the game.

The Phillies scored 22 runs in the four-game series.

Rollins had a fantastic series. He was 6-for-15 in the series with two doubles and a triple and is hitting 250/297/424 on the year.

Victorino was 4-for-12 with a double and two triples. He’s hitting 293/360/448 for the year. Hopefully a lot of rest is the answer for Victorino. He’s hitting 243/309/395 over his last 232 plate appearances. He was hitting 319/386/476 after going 3-for-5 on July 28.

Utley was 0-for-9 in the series and got last night off. He’s hitting 285/401/513 on the season. He hit an ugly 204/304/343 in September.

Howard was 3-for-12 with five walks in the series. 276/358/563 on the season.

Werth 5-for-13 with a home run and four walks. 268/374/506.

Ibanez 3-for-14 with two walks, a home run and four RBI. 274/348/556.

Feliz hit a huge grand slam in game two. 5-for-17 with two doubles, a home run and seven RBI in the series. 268/311/390 for the year. Feliz has been awful since the end of July, hitting 230/260/376 over 224 plate appearances. He’s shown a lot of life lately, though, hitting 327/327/489 over his last 49 plate appearances. No walks in his last 53 at-bats.

Bako started games one, two and four of the series. 2-for-8 with two walks. He’s up to 230/315/345 on the season. 333/405/455 over 37 plate appearances in his last ten games.

Ruiz started game three of the series and went 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. 253/351/424 on the year.

Hoover appeared in game one without an at-bat.

Francisco started in center field last night in game four. 3-for-5 with two doubles in the series. 281/316/551 in 89 at-bats with the Phillies.

Cairo was 1-for-3 in the series and is hitting 235/257/294 for the year.

Bruntlett started at second base last night and went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts. He’s hitting 158/214/228 for the year. He did not have a bat in all of September before starting October with a tough game. Hasn’t been such a good year for him.

Dobbs was 0-for-3 in the series to drop his line on the year to 255/306/400. He’s 5-for-22 with five singles since the end of July.

Tracy went 1-for-2 in the series and is 3-for-6 with the Phillies.

Victorino and Utley are the guys the Phillies really need to snap out. Rollins was a monster in the series and so was Feliz despite recent struggles.

This article breaks down tie scenarios for the best record in the NL.

Chan Ho Park left a simulated game yesterday after facing five batters due to a problem with his hamstring. It also suggests that whether Happ or Martinez is fourth starter behind Lee, Hamels and Blanton will depend on the health of Eyre and Romero.