The Phillies showed their depth by resting their starting lineup in a meaningless final game of the season as leftfielder So Taguchi went 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs, 22 year old catching prospect Lou Marson went 2 for 4 including a 2 run homer and pinch hitter Matt Stairs followed Marson with a solo shot in a 3 run eighth. 31 year old reliever Les Walrond notched his 1st MLB win in relief of Kyle Kendrick as the Phillies tacked on win 92 vs 70 losses with an 8-3 win over Washington.
The National League division playoff scheduling finally took form as the Milwaukee Brewers nailed down the Wild Card spot by edging the Cubs by 3-1 on C.C. Sabathia’s complete game 4 hitter on 3 days rest. Meanwhile, the Mets bullpen failed them yet again completing their 2nd straight season-end collapse as the Florida Marlins rallied for 2 eighth inning runs to nip them by a 4-2 score.
As a result, the Cubs will play the Dodgers while the Phils play the Brewers as the NL division series games begin on Wednesday.
Both starters, Odalis Perez and Kyle Kendrick were touched up over 3 2/3 and 4 innings respectively. Walrond and 3 other Phillies pitchers held Washington scoreless over the final 5 innings, despite 5 hits and 2 walks.
The Phillies nicked lefthander Odalis Perez at the start as shortstop Eric Bruntlett and 2nd baseman Tad Iguchi singled and doubled repectively putting runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Bruntlett then scored on Perez’s wild pitch.
The Nationals tied the score at 1-1 in the third inning on young catcher Luke Montz’s leadoff homer off of Kyle Kendrick who had retired the first 6 Nationals he faced on 23 pitches. Kendrick was assigned the start as the Phils opted to rest ace lefthander Cole Hamels in order that he start the first playoff game against the Brewers having had plenty of rest. Kendrick then retired the next 3 Nationals on 8 pitches to end the inning before running into 2 run, 3 hit trouble in the fourth inning, his last, as the Nationals took a 3-1 lead.
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston recaps the rest of the game for Yahoo sports;
Taguchi and Eric Bruntlett drove in runs for the Phillies in the fourth to put them up 4-3. Odalis Perez (7-12) gave up eight hits and four runs in 3 2-3 innings, leaving with nausea and some lightheadedness.
[Ryan] Howard received a standing ovation and heard chants of “MVP! MVP!” when he pinch-hit in the sixth. He poked a single to left and became the only Phillie to play in all 162 games this season. Howard scored on Taguchi’s triple to right for a 5-3 lead—the slugging first baseman wisely deciding not slide on a close play at the plate.
Marson, who made his major league debut, and Stairs connected in the eighth inning.
Lefthanded reliever Les Walrond replaced Kendrick a pitched socreless fifth and sixth innings giving up only 2 hits while walking none and striking out 4 and was credited with his 1st MLB win.
AP’s Gelston surmised;
Pitching Sabathia was fine with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Sunday’s games, click here.
The Phillies now have 2 days off to savor their 2nd straight NL East division championship before the Milwaukee Brewers arrive in town to begin the NL division playoffs on Wednesday. A well rested lefthander Cole Hamels will open for the Phils. The Brewers have yet to announce their starter for game 1.
Pitching assignments appear to line up like this so far for the 2nd game of the series. C.C. Sabathia goes on Thursday against Brett Myers.