Playing nine games in 10 days on the road is difficult enough, but the Phillies will have the added pressure of facing three teams that have established themselves as legitimate playoff contenders.
In fact, the Phillies' next six series are all against teams that now have winning records. Five of those opponents were in either first or second place in their divisions heading into yesterday's action. Florida, Atlanta, St. Louis, Boston, the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland entered yesterday with a combined record of 205-156. But the next two series are the most important: the Braves, currently in third place in the National League East, and the Marlins, currently in second.
"The two teams that really matter the most are Atlanta and Florida, because they are the two teams who are right behind us and on top of that, they are going to be there at the end of the season, they're in our division," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "St. Louis, we'll worry about them after this series if we both get to the playoffs. But they are another good team and we are going to have to beat good teams all season long."
The Phillies, who improved to 36-26 with yesterday's 5-0 win over the Reds, are coming off an impressive homestand in which they won eight out of 10 games for the first time in Citizens Bank Park history. The last time they went 8-2 on a homestand was in August 1995.
Yesterday's game clocked in at 2 hours, 6 minutes, the Phillies' shortest of the season . . . The Phillies are 10 games over .500, tying their season high . . . It was the third shutout of the season for the Phillies, and their first against the Reds since May 13, 2006, when
combined for the win . . . Phillies hitters struck out twice, tied for the second fewest this season. *