I've lost count of the number of lives the Phillies have already used up but it must be approaching nine by this point in the season. Still, they open an important four-game series with Colorado at Citizens Bank Park this evening and find themselves "only" two games out of the Wild Card lead. What games aren't important at this stage in the proceedings?
The Phils managed to take two out of three from Florida thanks to some impressive relief work. Nonetheless, no lead appears too safe thanks in no small part to last week's disaster in Atlanta and sure enough, the Marlins did make it interesting yesterday with three sixth-inning home runs off starter Jamie Moyer, who suddenly lost it after cruising along for five innings.
The Phils threw another makeshift lineup at the Fish on Sunday -- is there any other kind in this season of disablements?-- with Chase Utley starting at first instead of Ryan Howard. Manager Charlie Manuel explained Howard "wasn't seeing the ball good" and needed a day off. I've always wondered how one clears up one's vision by not looking, but I'll assume it was his head and not his eyes that needed recalibrating.
Colorado is no gimme any longer. Indeed, their record is nearly identical to Phillies whom they trail by a single game in the Wild Card chase. The Phils need to win three out of four here going into the big weekend series against the Mets at Shea. Anything less and they use up another precious life.