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Will the lefty-mashing Brewers match up well with Philly, or will Phillies firepower and a strong pen make all the difference?

Less than three weeks ago, the Brewers came to Philadelphia holding a four-game lead in the wild-card race and carrying the league's second-best record despite a slump that had seen them lose seven of 10 to open September. By the end of the four-game set, the two teams were tied for the wild card. It was the start of a finishing kick in which the Phillies went 13-3, breezing past the Mets to claim their second division title in a row.

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Derek follows the Phillies' pursuit of the wild card as they try to shoot down the Rocket.

Voters indicated that the Astros game was appealing as much for the visiting team as for the living legend on the mound. Coming in, the Phillies are alive in the wild-card race, tied with the Giants and trailing the Padres by 2 1/2 games. Since they traded Bobby Abreu to the Yankees, the Phillies have posted a 25-17 record, Ryan Howard has hit 21 homers--one every other game--and driven in 51 runs. Since the All-Star break, Howard leads all batters with a 1320 OPS, head and shoulders above the next man on that leaderboard--Atlanta's Adam LaRoche, with an OPS of 1174. The Phillies have the top offense in the league by runs scored (773), are second in OBP (.344), and third in SLG (.445). They have hit the third-most home runs in the league (195), largely on the strength of Ryan Howard's 56 homers. Abreu or no Abreu, they're an offensive juggernaut.

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July 1, 2002 7:41 pm

The Week in Quotes: June 24-30, 2002

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Derek Zumsteg

STRIKE! STRIKE! "If you have kids who might [grow up to] be major league baseball players, we're fighting for your kids, possibly. If I work for your newspaper and you're in the union fighting for your equality and rights, sure I would strike, and so would you..." --Barry Bonds, Giants outfielder

STRIKE! STRIKE!

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(Ed. note: Chris is on vacation this week. TA will resume, with a twice-a-week schedule, on April 11.)

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