PITTSBURGH -- The Phillies are facing the hottest club in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have won nine in a row and own the best record in baseball. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel spoke to how well the Pirates have played.
"I see a lot of hustle and I see a lot of determination," Manuel said of the Pirates. "I see good pitching and I see position players that play hard. I've seen them play quite a bit when I can; I watch games on television and they're pretty good.
"They have been winning a lot of one-run games and they've been playing extra-inning games, and they seem like they win every one of them. And that's a sign that their bullpen holds people and starting pitching is good, but the bullpen kind of stands out.
"They've got enough hitting. Pedro Alvarez is improving and they've got one of the best players in baseball in center field [in Andrew McCutchen]. They've got a catcher that's gotten some big hits, and he definitely has something to do with their staff."
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.