ESPN is apparently tired of waiting for the Philadelphia Phillies to officially clinch a postseason berth. Their MLB standings page lists the Phils with a 100 percent chance to make the playoffs, though their magic number sits at 16 entering play on Tuesday.
The Phillies look to trim that number down Wednesday night in their series finale against the Atlanta Braves. First pitch from Citizens Bank Park will be shortly after 7:00 p.m. (ET) with ESPN televising the contest nationally in front of their broadcast of the Mariners, Angels contest.
Wednesday's mound matchup pits youth vs. veteran as Atlanta sends rookie Brandon Beachy (11-10, 3.37) up against Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt (8-11, 3.80). It's a rematch from an April game in Atlanta.
You won't get much argument from anyone about the Phils' chances of not only making the playoffs, but being the team to beat this October. Atlanta is among their potential roadblocks to a third NL pennant, and the Braves were soundly beaten in Monday's series opener when the Phillies (-215) rode Cliff Lee's sixth shutout this campaign to an easy 9-0 win.
Philadelphia was favored to pick up win No. 90 Tuesday night, the Phillies laying -125 behind some youth of their own, rookie Vance Worley.
Beachy will be looking for his first career victory against the Phils with Atlanta dropping all five of his assignments against its division rivals. The right-hander's three results in 2011 have netted a 5.79 ERA in 14 innings.
He did post a quality start in the one start here in Philly on July 8 (6 IP, 2 ER, 6 K), but fell short as a 145 underdog opposite Roy Halladay.
As unbelievable as it might sound, Oswalt could be on the outside looking in when it comes to being in the postseason rotation. He's definitely pitched his way into the No. 5 spot statistically, and has just five more starts at most to try and extend his streak to 10 seasons with 10 wins or more.
This will be Oswalt's third start vs. the Braves since joining the Phils in July 2010, and both have been Philadelphia wins with the righty tossing 13 innings combined and allowing just one earned run.
Oswalt was an even-money underdog April 9 at Turner Field when he and Beachy matched up. Philadelphia broke a close game open with a 5-run seventh on the way to a 10-2 victory, Atlanta's usually strong bullpen the primary culprit in the loss.
Calling the pitches in the series finale will be Jerry Meals who recently crossed the 500-game mark for regular season duties behind the plate. The 'over' is 14-11-3 in his 28 assignments this season, and on a 5-0-1 run his last six.
A wet day is in Philadelphia's Hump Day forecast, with a 60 percent chance of showers in the evening. Temps should hover in the low-to-mid 70s the entire game with a light ENE breeze (RF corner in towards 3B).
Atlanta leaves for the Big Apple after this game for a one-day stop to play a doubleheader against the Mets at Citi Field. The Phillies take off for Milwaukee to face the Brewers for four, Game 1 of that series on Thursday.