Rutgers-Camden has many students who are die-hard Philly fans. This is why the Office of Campus Involvement offers students discounted Phillies tickets for a few games each season via the IMPACT Booth. Students can purchase tickets regularly priced at $24 for only $15, which is a huge discount for starving college students who would like to go to a few games but just cannot afford the tickets because of their many other expenses. While transportation for Rutgers Night at Citizen’s Bank Park was not provided, the ticket discount was enough to get a good amount of Rutgers-Camden students to go out and enjoy the September 6th night game against the Florida Marlins. It was Dollar Dog Night as well, which made the game all the more exciting.
The Phillies had lost the first game of the doubleheader in the afternoon, but they rallied behind pitcher Roy Oswalt to secure a 7-4 victory and inch half a game closer to the Atlanta Braves for the coveted first-place position in the National League East. The Phillies scored five runs in the second inning as Rollins, Ibanez, Ruiz, Victorino and Polanco all scored. Oswalt pitched seven innings and allowed four runs.
This was a very fun game to be at as a student because there were a lot of other college students in the section that were cheering, booing, starting the wave and challenging each other to hot dog eating contests in honor of the final Dollar Dog Night of the season. It is always exciting to watch the home team beat a division rival in the company of classmates, especially when the victory moves the home team that much closer to winning the division.
The Phillies went on to win the game the following day against the Marlins by a score of 8-7, propelling them a half game ahead of the Braves and into the division lead for the first time since May 30. As usual, the rest of the division is choking down the stretch while the Phillies are stepping up to the plate and getting hits when they need to win the game. Of course, they went through a drought. Every team does at some point in the season. It’s better to have a drought earlier rather than later, however, because the teams that were hot in July and August, and were leading the division, have lost steam and are falling to the back of the pack. The Mets and Marlins are virtually out of contention. Sometimes it is easy to forget that the Nationals are even in the division. The Phillies, fortunately, are the only team in the NL East that have a fighting chance to stay ahead of the Braves for the division title for the fourth straight year. Their bats are coming alive at just the right time, and their pitching has been solid all year.
Hamels is back to his normal self, pitching gems every time he takes the mound. Halladay and Oswalt are completely comfortable in their roles on the pitching staff, and Madson, Durbin and Lidge seem to be a little bit more reliable than they have been this season. If the bullpen can hold strong down the stretch and help the team hold on to its lead late in the game, the Phillies should have no problem getting into the playoffs as the division champs. They would then have home field advantage which definitely helps, since the Phillies are 12-3 at home in the past two postseasons, with two of those losses coming from the New York Yankees in last year’s World Series.
If the fans keep supporting the Phillies, and the Phillies keep giving back to the fans by way of crucial victories down the stretch, the team has a legitimate chance to excel in the postseason. As Charlie Manuel and his regiment often say to the press, they are going to take it one game at a time and not get too excited. Victory is imminent.