Phils prepare to face Brewers in NLDS

Phils prepare to face Brewers in NLDS

PHILADELPHIA -- One television in the Phillies' clubhouse showed the Brewers poised to celebrate, champagne at the ready and Miller Park abuzz with players and front-office personnel.

The other showed Shea Stadium set to collapse, with the Mets three outs away from an unwanted season-ending final game that came with what were likely low-key closing ceremonies.

Phillies players milled around with equal glances at each screen. A few laughed when Brewers pitcher CC Sabathia was pictured in a "Wild Card Champs" hat -- before the Mets game had ended to make it official.

"Oops," said one player. "That can't be good."

It didn't serve as a jinx. The Phils' clubhouse stirred when the Mets' Ryan Church, the tying run, drove a Matt Lindstrom pitch to center field, then exhaled when Marlins rookie Cameron Maybin made the catch to end the game.

With the Brewers' victory and the Mets' loss, the Phillies will host the Brewers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on TBS. Cole Hamels will get the nod for Philadelphia. Milwaukee has not named a starter, though Yovani Gallardo has emerged as a leading candidate.

For Game 2 on Thursday, Brett Myers may oppose Sabathia, who would be pitching on three days' rest. Game 3 is Saturday in Milwaukee, with Game 4, if necessary, on Sunday. If needed, Game 5 would be played Oct. 7 in Philadelphia.

The Phillies refused to relish in the Mets' fall, though some of the players' smiles gave them away. Some promised to send text messages to former teammate Wes Helms, who gave the Marlins the lead with an eighth-inning solo homer.

Milwaukee lost the Wild Card lead after being swept in Philadelphia earlier this month, then stumbled through the next week, dismissing manager Ned Yost along the way.

The Brewers reclaimed their footing by going 6-1 in their final seven games. The Mets staged another late-season swoon, dropping six of their final nine to surrender the NL East, then the Wild Card.

complete postseason coverage
The Phils didn't acknowledge that the Brewers' poor performance earlier this month gave Philadelphia any advantage.

"It's erased," closer Brad Lidge said. "It's October and it's the playoffs. We haven't beaten them at all in the playoffs. We have to beat them three times to get to the next round."

"The slate's clean," added reliever Chad Durbin. "I don't think they'll be thinking too much about it, either."

In another corner of the clubhouse stood Geoff Jenkins, bordering on giddy and bittersweet. One of the loudest celebrators on Saturday's clinching party, he was heading to the playoffs for the first time in his 11 Major League seasons. Of course, his first-round opponent is the team he left, one that hasn't gone to the playoffs since 1982.

"Oh, the irony," Jenkins said, with a laugh. "I had a lot of relationships there. I care a lot about those people. I'm definitely happy for that situation. I'll send text messages to a lot of those guys saying, 'Congratulations,' and wish them the worst of luck the rest of the way."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.