Last night's taut 5-2 win over Atlanta came courtesy of the kind of starting pitching the Phillies have mostly dreamed about this season. Kyle Lohse, whom the Phillies coveted when he was still a Minnesota Twin, delivered seven strong innings precisely when his teammates needed him and the offense, led by Jimmy Rollins (of course!), chipped in with just enough hitting to get the job done.
J-Roll led off the game with his 19th triple of the season and scored on Ryan Howard's single up the middle. Gregg Dobbs, who has had a superb season as a super-sub, knocked in two more and Shane Victorino, who has accepted his part-time role without complaint, smoked a pinch-hit homer in the second deck.
It never gets monotonous to write about Jimmy. Indeed, on more than a few occasions this season I have reminded myself not to take him for granted. One day, many years in the distance we hope, he will hang it up and we will no longer have the pleasure of watching one of baseball's best all-around players. This year four or five players in the National League merit serious consideration for the MVP award but none has had a better season than Jimmy and none has ever flashed that grin as widely or taken such obvious pleasure in playing the game.
Meanwhile, back at the pennant race, the Mets continue to stumble and bumble their way towards possibly one of baseball's legendary late-season collapses. It couldn't happen to a nicer team. (On occasion I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, sit up straight and ask myself, "How in the hell did the Mets beat the Orioles in '69??!!") The Phils are only a game out of first with four games remaining. If they manage to overtake NY, they should award the Washington Nationals a full share of whatever post-season bonus awaits them, provided, of course, that the Nationals further cooperate and lose all three of their games in Philadelphia this weekend.