09/26/2003 9:43 PM ET
Vet farewell I spoiled by Braves
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
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PHILADELPHIA -- While Citizens Bank Ballpark quickly takes shape across the
street, there is still some unfinished business at the old address.
To that end, the Phillies played host to the Braves in the third-to-last game in
the 33-year history of Veterans Stadium on Friday. While the Phillies know their season
ends after Sunday's game, the Braves enter the series seeking to lock up home-field
In one of the quickest games of the season for the Phillies, the Braves took it to Vicente Padilla and the Phils, 6-0, in front of 58,096 fans, who poured in for the final night game at The Vet.
Atlanta broke the ice in the sixth, when Marcus Giles homered just over the
Padilla (14-12) left after giving up three more runs in the seventh. Mike
Williams coughed up the final two in the top of the ninth.
For the seventh straight start, Padilla didn't speak to the media after the
game. Perhaps this was out of respect for Hall of Famer Steve Carlton, who did that
almost his whole career. Carlton changed the Veterans Stadium countdown number.
Padilla had pitched some of the best games in his career against the Braves, but
has been beaten by them in his past two outings. His ERA against them in 2003 rose to
2.70 from 2.23. His career ERA rose to 2.48 from 2.19.
The Phillies, who were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss on
Thursday, showed little life and managed five hits against Horacio Ramirez through six
innings. They got none against a quintet of relievers.
"You have an empty feeling in your stomach," said manager Larry Bowa. "There's
no more scoreboard watching. A lot of teams go through this the first week of September.
We got to it the last three days of the season."
"Over the past couple of days, we had some rough games in Florida," said Jim
Thome, one of the few players who remained in the deserted clubhouse. "Some of the guys
were disappointed and in order to play Atlanta, you have to be ready."
The sting of having been swept by the Marlins in Miami continued as the Phillies
lost for their sixth straight game. They were shut out for the 10th time this season.
"When you leave Spring Training, your goal every year should be to get in,"
said Thome. "When you don't get in, it's one of those things where you have to fight
yourself to still compete and play the game at the level it's supposed to be played at.
I think we have a very good club and we did a lot of great things, and the future is
One of the brightest spots heading into next season is rookie center fielder
Marlon Byrd, who rebounded from a miserable start to establish himself as a bona fide
Major Leaguer and leadoff hitter.
While Byrd said he didn't have any problem getting pumped up to play a game
following elimination, he acknowledged that it may have been tough for some.
"This is the first time in my career that I've played in a game that doesn't
mean anything," Byrd said. "That's a terrible feeling. We have to avoid that."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the
approval of Major League Baseball or its club.