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Washington Bailout: Nationals at Phillies, 9/26/08

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Washington Nationals
@ Philadelphia Phillies

Friday, Sep 26, 2008, 7:05 PM EDT
Citizens Bank Park

Collin Balester vs Joe Blanton

Mostly cloudy with a 60-percent chance of rain. Winds blowing in from right field at 10-15 m.p.h. Game Time temperature: Around 65.

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The Phillies magic number to clinch a postseason berth on Monday night was 3.

It's still 3.

After dropping 2 of 3 to the Atlanta Braves earlier this week, and seeing the Wild Card rival Brewers sweep a hapless Pirates squad, the Phillies enter this last weekend needing to win 2 of 3 to guarantee at worst a one-game play-in for the postseason.

And tonight, the fate of the team rests on the meaty shoulders of Joe Blanton. Rookie Collin Balester goes for the Nationals.

The Phillies absolutely cannot take these games for granted. And neither can we. This is a Nationals team sitting on 99 losses... do you really think they want to lose #100 this weekend? Me neither. They've got nothing to lose, and they'll be dangerous.

The weather, looking ominous for the last couple of days, appears decent enough to get a game in tonight.

MEANWHILE, the Mets welcome the Marlins for the final (regular season?) games at Shea Stadium. The Mets get a slight edge in the pitching matchup, with Mike Pelfrey taking on Chris Volstad, but as we saw last year, nothing would make the Marlins happier than to knock the Mets out of the playoff race. Anticipate three hard-fought games.

The Brewers welcome the Cubs to Miller Park for their last three. Hopefully the Cubs won't put their J.V. team on the field tonight (yes, Lou Piniella was well within his rights to do so and in a similar situation Charlie would've done the same thing, but that doesn't mean I have to LIKE IT). Ryan Dempster goes for the Cubs against Jeff Suppan. Expect a short leash for Dempster, the announced Game One NLDS starter; hopefully the Cubs can tattoo Suppan for a buncha runs early and the Cubs 'pen will hold on.

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