In last night's game against the Washington Nationals, the Phillies were lead by Ryan Howard (4 RBIs) and Chase Utley (3 RBIs). They scored seven runs in the first two innings en route to a 8 - 4 victory. Joe Blanton got the win, with relief from Ryan Madson, J. C. Romero, and Brad Lidge. No, it was NOT a save situation, but Charley Manuel used Lidge to pitch the ninth. Charley was clearly fired up for this game, even more so in the ninth inning when the third base umpire incorrectly over-ruled the home plate umpire on a called third strike. The ump thought the ball was tipped and had hit the ground before bouncing into the glove of catcher Carlos Ruiz. The replay showed that the bat never struck the ball; Lidge's slider had so much bite that the hitter was fooled into swinging and missing a ball that was in the dirt. This call shows that instant replay should be considered for this type of situation. Here we had an umpire more than 90 feet away over-rule an umpire who was right on top of the play! Well, Charley Manuel lost his cool and blew up at these umpires - he knows that MLB officialdom frowns on debating ball-and-strike calls - and the umps obliged him by throwing him out of the game. On the next pitch, Lidge threw ANOTHER slider in the dirt and this time the umps got it right, STRIKE 3. No harm was done, and Lidge easily retired the last 2 Washington batters. Charley was right about the call though and the objective of the umpires should be "LETS GET THE CALL RIGHT", not "OH YOU CAN'T DEBATE BALL & STRIKE CALLS". MLB should review this matter.
The Phillies face the Nationals this afternoon with Jamie Moyer on the mound. If he gets the win, Moyer will tie a record for the most victories (16) by a 45-year-old. Win or lose or draw today, I think Moyer has been amazing this season. He is a very rare athlete, playing well at an age when most athletes have long-since retired.
If the Phil can beat the Nationals once more they will clinch a playoff spot. GO PHILS!