Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Deja vu all over again

They are the four ugliest numbers in Philadelphia sports history.

1-9-6-4.

That’s why I’m here this morning to tell everyone to exhale. This is not 1964. The Phillies, despite their best effort to foist off a serious dose of déjà vu all over again on us, are not going to repeat the greatest collapse in baseball history.

Relax.

Yes, the Phils lost again last night. And of course the foe was familiar. It was the Astros once again sticking the knife in their backs. Nothing new about that. The Phillies have yet to beat them this year.

The Magic Number remains three. But that distant image in the rear-view mirror is getting closer. The Braves won again last night. They are now just four back.

In 1964, the Phils were 6 and a half up with 12 to play when Chico Ruiz stole home and one of the great collapses in sports history unraveled – along with the Phillies’ World Series hopes.

Most people believe last year’s World Series victory shattered the curse. Then why do we have all these butterflies in our stomachs?

At one point about a week ago the Phils were eight and a half up with 13 to play.

They have six games to play. They must win three, or at least some combination of wins and Braves’ losses that adds up to three.

Cole Hamels did not exactly help last night. The ace could not contain the pesky Astros. He gave up six runs on nine hits in six and two-thirds innings.

Tonight J.A. Happ takes the hill. I’m not going to say it’s crucial, but a win tonight would certainly go a long way toward settling everyone’s nerves. A loss, coupled with another win by the Braves, could make things that much more dicey.

Repeat after me: It’s not 1964.

Right?

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