After another absolutely stellar performance by Cliff Lee today, the Muts are now 57-68 and 16.5 games out of first place. Their lineup today featured the team's homer leader, Fernando Tatis, who has 6 homers this year. Cliff Lee raised his record with the Phils to 5-0, and dropped his National League ERA to a miniscule .68 after giving up only 2 unearned runs in 7 strong innings today. The Phils are now 72-50 and 7 games ahead of the second place Braves.
Best of all, Brad Lidge seems to have righted himself. He's now gone four straight outings without giving up an earned run, and has shaved half a run off his still-bloated ERA. If that's true, it couldn't have happened at a better time.
Ryan Howard blasted 2 homers today, including a three-run shot to the opposite field in the first inning. He now has 34 homers and 104 RBIS, and the big fella is on a real tear. He became only the second Phillies player ever to have four straight seasons of at least 30 homers and 100 RBI's; only Hall of Famer Chuck Klein had accomplished that feat before Howard topped the 100 RBI plateau today. Again, Howard's hot streak couldn't have happened at a better time.
Raul Ibanez had an RBI double today, and hopefully, that will be the beginning of the end of his protracted slump. If all goes according to script, the Phils will finish the season with four players with 30 or more homers (Howard, Ibanez, Werth, and Utley) and three with 100 or more RBI's (Howard, Uteley and Ibanez). Only a handful of teams have ever had four players with 30 or more big flies, so that would be a real plus for the Phils.
Now, it's off to Pittsburgh for a three-game set with a very bad Pirates team. The Phils can put some more distance between them and the rest of the division at the expense of the rebuilding Buccos.