The Philadelphia Phillies have not had a day off since Aug. 18. That stretch of 27 games in 27 days is about to come to an end.
First, however, the Phillies travel to Pittsburgh for a three-game series with the Pirates at PNC Park. They’ll get their much-coveted day off on Monday.
The Phillies, who are 12-12 during this nonstop march, are currently a half-game behind the Florida Marlins in the NL wild-card race.
“You have to take care of your own business,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “You can’t worry about other people. It’s nerve-racking when you play bad.”
The Pirates are playing the first of 11 straight at PNC Park, their final homestand of the season. They have lost four of their last six overall, including a 3-2 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday.
Pittsburgh finished with four wins during its 11-game, 10-day road trip.
STANDINGS: Phillies - 3rd place, 11 GB, NL East. Pirates - 4th place, 11 1/2 GB, NL Central.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Amaury Telemaco (1-2, 3.48 ERA). Telemaco pitched well in his most recent start, but left after six innings due to a stiff neck. He allowed just one run and three hits, but did not get a decision in the Phillies’ 5-4 win over the New York Mets on Sunday. Since his recall from Triple-A Scranton last month, the 29-year-old right-hander has lasted at least five innings in all five of his starts.
PIRATES PROBABLE STARTER: Kip Wells (7-8, 3.59 ERA). Wells has pitched well in recent starts, going 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA in his past three outings. He allowed two runs and eight hits over eight innings in a 2-1 loss to the Braves on Sunday. Wells gave up three runs in seven innings to earn the win in his only previous start against Philadelphia.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .322 avg.; Jim Thome, 39 HRs, 110 RBIs and 96 runs; Abreu, 21 SBs. Pirates - Jason Kendall, .326 avg. and 77 runs; Reggie Sanders, 30 HRs, 81 RBIs and 13 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Pirates, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - The Phillies are 33-13 when scoring in the first inning. … 1B Thome is 2-for-25 (.080) over his last eight games. … SS Jimmy Rollins needs two stolen bases to reach 100 for his career. Pirates - RHP Wells is 3-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 11 starts at home this season. … SS Jose Hernandez is hitless in his last 26 at-bats. … C Kendall is batting a major league-leading .385 (55-for-143) since Aug. 1.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 36-39 on the road; Pirates - 32-38 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP Terry Adams (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 60-day DL. Pirates - INF Pat Meares (hand), 60-day DL; 2B Pokey Reese (thumb), 60-day DL; RHP Kris Benson (shoulder), 60-day DL; LHP Dave Williams (shoulder), 60-day DL.