The World Champion Philadelphia Phillies dropped four games to the Houston freakin’ Astros this weekend, and Charlie Manuel was not at all pleased:
“I hear some of them talking, saying we’re a team that plays better when we have to. [Expletive] the last couple years. What the hell? That don’t mean [expletive]. Last year is dead and gone. We play for today . . .When I get up in the morning, I feel good. When the game is over, the last four, five days, I haven’t felt too damn good.”
One of those losses came on yet another Brad Lidge blown save. Apparently Manuel doesn’t want to [expletive] the part of last year that had Lidge’s name written down in permanent marker as the closer, however, because Manuel appears to be sticking with him.
The Phillies have lost eight of 13, mostly it seems, due to bad hitting, not poor pitching. But if Manuel is going to shake this team up — and he certainly sounds like he wants to — maybe throwing some bats into the shower, demoting Brad Lidge and showing everyone that they can be replaced if they don’t step it the [expletive] up is the best way to do it.
TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.
Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.
If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.
“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”
Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.
The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.
Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.