Chipper Jones hit his second career pinch-homer and the Atlanta Braves beat the Phils 10-4 Wednesday night in the 215.
Then the Cubbies beat the New York Mets 9-6 in 10 innings, reducing the Phillies’ magic number for clinching their second straight division title to three. Three friggin’ wins, come on fellas.
The Phillies remain 1½ games ahead of the Mets. They will finish the regular season with a three-game series against the last-place Washington Nationals, starting Friday and look to capitalize.
There’s a great chat being hosted over on ESPN.com by Jayson Stark regarding the signing of Johan and how it will affect the NL East race.
His intro into the chat:
If Johan Santana was good enough to carry a team to a World Series by himself, the Twins would have played in about five of them already. But now that we’ve got that away, no sane human would dispute that Santana is a contract extension away from changing the face of the NL East.
Two days ago, the Phillies were the clear-cut favorites in this division. It’s safe to say they aren’t anymore. But does that mean the Mets are a lock? Not necessarily, according to the baseball men I surveyed in the last 24 hours.
The case for the Phillies
This may come as a shock to all residents of Queens, but we did find several bright, rational NL executives who still pick the Phillies.
Remember, they did outscore the Mets by 88 runs last year, whomped 82 more extra-base hits and drew 92 more walks. In fact, if you go around the diamond, how many positions are there where the Mets are definitively better than the Phillies? I’d give the Mets two — third base and center field.
The Phillies also catch the ball better. And would it really surprise anybody if the Phillies’ top two starters — Cole Hamels and Brett Myers — won just as many games as Santana and Pedro Martinez?
Finally, keep in mind the reason that one NL front-office man picked the Phillies — depth. The Phillies were deep enough last year to survive injuries to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Hamels, Myers, Shane Victorino and Flash Gordon. And the Mets obliterated their system to make this deal, leaving them with “not much of an underbelly” if they have injuries. And everybody has injuries.
The Mets get Johan Santana without giving up Fernando Martinez, their best prospect, or Mike Pelfrey, their best young pitcher. They also immediately make themselves the favorites to win their division and have a good argument that they’re the best team in the National League.
The deal is pending the Mets and Santana reaching an agreement on a six- or seven-year contract extension and that Santana passes a physical; they have been granted a 48 to-72-hour window to do so. Santana has a no-trade clause that he will waive if agreement is reached on a contract extension.
GRRRReattttt! At least we got Pedro Feliz, right.