An sluggish night offensively against the Atlanta Braves kept the Philadelphia Phillies from moving closer to clinching the NL East, but their recent play hasn't given them any reason to worry yet.
Philadelphia tries to lower its magic number as it closes a three-game series against the Braves Wednesday night.The Phillies (89-69) lost for the second time in 12 games Tuesday, falling 3-2 to the Braves (70-88). Philadelphia had won three straight, including the opener of the series 6-2, but was held to its fewest runs in nearly a month in the loss -- just its third in 17 games against the Braves.Philadelphia had averaged 6.2 runs in its previous 16 games against Atlanta."We might have been trying a little too hard tonight," manager Charlie Manuel said.The Phillies' lead over the New York Mets in the NL East fell to 1 1/2 games, and their magic number for clinching the division remained at four.Philadelphia had averaged 6.0 runs in its previous 11 games. Pedro Feliz and Pat Burrell each drove in a run on Tuesday, but the Phillies scored their fewest runs since a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 29."Teams that go to the playoffs and win have to have the breaks go their way," said losing pitcher Cole Hamels. "We didn't have it today."The Phillies, though, haven't lost back-to-back games since losing to the Marlins Sept. 9 and 10. After this game, they complete their season with a three-game series against the NL-worst Washington Nationals at home."We're in the same mood," Ryan Howard said. "There isn't any reason to panic."The Phillies look to bounce back when they hand the ball to Brett Myers (10-12, 4.46 ERA), who is coming off one of the worst starts in his career.Myers gave up five runs in his first 14 pitches against the Marlins on Friday, and eventually left after getting tagged for a career-high 10 runs and nine hits in four-plus innings. The loss came on the heels of throwing a two-hitter against Milwaukee."I felt fine," he told the Phillies' official Web site. "I felt strong in the first inning."The right-hander is 4-7 with a 4.46 ERA in 18 starts and seven relief appearances against the Braves. On May 14 against them, he allowed eight runs and nine hits over 4 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss.The Braves will counter with Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11, 5.74), who is 0-7 with a 7.28 ERA in his last 11 starts. The left-hander lasted only 3 1-3 innings against the Mets on Friday, allowing five runs and seven hits in a 9-5 loss. He didn't receive a decision.Reyes hasn't pitched past the fourth inning in three of his last four starts.Reyes is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against the Phillies. He's 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA in two starts and one relief appearance against them this season.The Braves have won three of their last four.