Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Is this an important stretch?

First off, a note: blogging will be on the lighter side this week. My office is moving over the weekend, so I have to pack my office, deal with the computers and servers, etc., etc., etc. Basically, work is interfering with my life again.

So, while I have some time, back to the Phillies. If you have not already heard, the Phillies start a 13-game, four city road trip tonight in Milwaukee. The road trip is only the first half of a 27-game, 27-day stretch -- a stretch that includes 20 games on the road. I certainly hope that they enjoyed yesterday's day off, because the next one does not come until September 15th. At that point, we will have a much better idea how seriously we should be talking about October baseball at the Vet.

Some people say this stretch is important. How important? Well, let's see how many articles there have been on it:

  • Phillies.com has an article about the need to stay hot on the 13-game road trip.

  • The Miami Herald has an AP article on the 27-game stretch. Philly's WPVI has the same article posted on their web site, as does South Florida's Sun Sentinel.

  • Jacksonville's CBS 47's web site is one of many that has an article about the "make or break" road trip.

  • The Bridgeton (NJ) News reports that this will be the Phillies first four-city trip since 2000, and the first time they have played 13 straight road games since the year before that.

  • Philly Baseball News chimes in with their two cents on the road trip.

  • The Austin American-Statesman has a blurb about the stretch in their "What's happening in baseball?" article.

  • The Doylestown Intelligencer reports that the "stakes are high" as the Phillies hit the road.

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer calls the stretch "crucial".

  • The Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier Post argues that the 13-game trip will determine whether or not the Phils are "contenders".

  • Do we get the point yet? Yeah, the trip is important. Yes, this long stretch will go a very long way to determining whether or not the Phillies are true contenders this season. And the players know it:

    "It's an important road trip. We will have a better idea of where we are." -- Mike Lieberthal

    "Everyone knows what's at stake. Every road trip is important." -- Larry Bowa

    "I think now there's a lot of energy. I don't think guys are worried. It's exciting that all we're thinking about is the playoffs. Usually I'm counting down the days until I can go to the golf course." -- Lieberthal

    "When you have a dogfight like this you play every game as hard as you can. You (can't) take one team light." -- Bowa

    "We've got a real tough road trip coming up. Hopefully we can keep this momentum. It's kind of too bad we have an off day because I think right now we're playing as good as we have all season." -- Jim Thome

    "Every series is important now. It doesn't really matter where it is." -- Lieberthal

    "It sounds extremely cliched, but we have to take it one game at a time. If we look at the whole thing, it becomes too much. We just have to look at it as one game against the Brewers on the road, try to win that and hope we can get some momentum." -- Randy Wolf

    "I think this stretch will tell a lot about us. It's going to be fun to see where we are at the end of this trip." -- Thome

    "We just need to win games." -- Bowa

    "I don't have enough clothes for two weeks." -- Wolf

    A 13-game road trip. 27 games in 27 days. Think they are ready? I guess we'll find out in game one tonight: Phillies at Brewers. Millwood vs. Sheets. The two pitchers matched up last Wednesday at the Vet, in the Phillies 11-4 win. Millwood gave up three runs on six hits in seven innings. Sheets, on the other hand, got bombed: 10 runs (eight earned) on 12 hits in just five innings. The Phillies are hoping for more of the same tonight, and hope to start the trip off with a win.

    One game at a time...