The Phillies were only able to score 2 runs tonight but they were able to get the victory due to a great outing by Cole Hamels. He had the Dodgers hitters off balance for most of the night but ran into jams in both the 7th and 8th innings. The 2009 version of Cole Hamels may have wilted but this isn’t that Hamels. He continued to prove tonight that he belongs to be mentioned with his fellow aces and that he is one of the best pitchers in the game. Thanks to great performances by Lee and Hamels, the Phillies were able to take 2 of the 3 games against the Dodgers despite only scoring 7 runs in the 3 games.
They continue their home stand tomorrow night as they start a 4 game series against the Cubs. Despite the injuries and negativity they still have a 3 game lead in the National League East and hold the best record in all of baseball at 37-25. It looks like they will get SS Jimmy Rollins back in the lineup tomorrow night as he continues to recover from a knee bruise. He reportedly ran around the bases today and has been improving. If Rollins is able to play tomorrow night, it will be just the 2nd time all season they will have their projected lineup. It remains to be seen if this lineup can hit when they are healthy and a lot of people doubt that they can. Ruben Amaro talked to Jim Salisbury from CSN Philly today about the likely hood of the team acquiring another bat.
“You will not see a major move this year,” Amaro said Wednesday. “I don’t think we need it. Right now, I’m happy with the guys we’ve got and I’m hoping they get us to the dance. This is a good team that is not playing as good as it is.”
Ruben also said they the Phillies we not going to sign Cliff Lee. This could just be a general manager putting on his best poker face and not trying to tip his hand to the rest of the league.
The Cubs come to town with one of the worst records in all of baseball. They are just 24-36 and are already 12 games out of first place in the National League Central. It is strange to see the Cubs with such a poor record because they do have some good players in their lineup. They have veteran hitters like Ramirez, Soriano, Pena and Soto. The most exciting players for Cubs fans these days are their double play duo up the middle. Shortstop Starling Castro and 2nd baseman Darwin Barney look like they are the building blocks for this Cubs team. They both hit at the top of the lineup and are both hitting over .300 on the season. The Cubs are in the middle of the pack when it comes to hitting but their pitching is the main reason for their overall struggles. They have a team ERA of 4.86, which is the worst in baseball. If the Phillies can’t hit against a team like the Cubs at home, they are not going to have a lot of offensive success with this lineup during the rest of the season.
Thursday June 9, 7:05: RHP Kyle Kendrick vs. RHP Randy Wells
Kendrick’s time to impress the Phillies as a starter may be running out. He has allowed 9 runs in just 8 innings during his last 2 starts. It is unknown how much work they want Worley to get at Lehigh, but he has pitched great in his two starts since his demotion. Worley pitched 7 shutout innings for the Pigs tonight and would be able to pitch on normal days rest on Kendrick’s next scheduled start. If Kendrick has another poor start it may force the team’s hand to bring Worley back into the rotation. In addition, it looks like they will need another Starter next Saturday because of their doubleheader against the Marlins next week. Kyle is now 3-4 with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP. In the 3 games he started, he is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP. Kendrick has pitched in just one game against the Cubs, in that game he went one inning and didn’t allow a run while giving up just one hit. Current Cubs hitters are a combined 1-2 (.500) against Kendrick during their careers.
Krazy K will be opposed by the 6-5 right hander Randy Wells. He has not been able to recapture the magic he had during his rookie season in 2009. In that season he won 12 games and had a 3.05 ERA. Last season he won just 8 games with a 4.26 ERA and this season his numbers have gotten worse. He will be making his 4th start of the season because he started the year on the disabled list with an injury to his forearm. In those 3 starts he is 1-1 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. Wells has made one start against the Phillies during his career which came last July in Chicago. He pitched 7 scoreless innings while scattering 7 hits and walking 2. Hamels was able to keep the team in the game until the bats came alive and scored 4 in the 9th off of Marmol to earn a 4-1 victory. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 6-23 (.261) against Wells during their careers.
Friday June 10, 7:05: RHP Roy Halladay vs. RHP Carlos Zambrano
Halladay is currently tied for the major league lead in wins with 8, is tied for 1st in innings pitched with 98 and is tied for 2nd in strikeouts with 97. The crazy part about these numbers are that we haven’t seen him at his best so far this season. He has had to battle through a lot of games and the majority of hits he has allowed so far have been lucky hits. Eventually those weak grounders and broken bat bloopers are going to find their way into the glove of the Phillies defenders. Doc is now 8-3 with a 2.56 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. He has made 3 starts against the Cubs during his career and hasn’t had a lot of success. In those starts he is 0-3 with a 4.60 ERA. He has only faced the Cubs once while pitching for the Phillies, he lasted just 6 innings while allowing 5 runs in a start at Wrigley last July. Current Cubs hitters are a combined 14-58 (.241) against Halladay during their careers.
The Cubs will send their “ace” and the always entertaining Carlos Zambrano to oppose Doc on Friday. He has always had the talent and pure stuff to dominate major league hitters, but he has always been missing the important mental stability to live up to his potential. After the Cubs lost their 6th game in a row last week against the Cardinals, he had a familiar rant about it after the game.
"We're playing like a Triple-A team,'' Zambrano said “This is embarrassing. Embarrassing for the team, for the owners. Embarrassing for the fans.”
He is currently 5-2 with a 3.98 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP so far this season. Zambrano has been very good over his last 3 starts; he is 1-0 and has only given up 3 runs in 21 innings during that span. He has pitched in 9 games (8 starts) versus the Phillies, in those games he is 4-3 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Zambrano has pitched in 5 games (4 starts) at the Bank, in those games he is 2-2 with a 4.28 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 11-41 (.268) against Zambrano during their careers.
Saturday June 11, 4:10: LHP Cliff Lee vs. RHP Matt Garza
On Monday night, Lee looked exactly like the pitcher we thought and knew we were getting when he was signed to a 5 year deal this offseason. He scattered 7 hits and walked one but didn’t’ allow a Dodger to score. Lee also struck out 10 hitters to take the number one spot in the majors and on the team away from Halladay. Clifton is now 5-5 with a 3.62 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. So far this season, he is 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 7 starts at home. On the road, he is 1-4 with a 5.35 ERA. He said after he signed that he loved pitching in Philadelphia and his current home/road splits support that. Lee has made 4 career starts versus the Cubs and has been dominate against them. In those starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.71 ERA. He faced the Cubs last June when he was still a member of the Mariners. He pitched a complete game and allowed 1 run on 9 hits. Current Cubs hitters are a combined 8-37 (.216) against Lee during their careers.
The Cubs acquired Matt Garza from the Rays during the offseason and it looks like they might have over paid for him. He had been a solid pitcher in the AL East and many thought he could do very well in the National League. So far this season he has been a feast or famine type pitcher. He has given up a total of 27 earned runs in 10 starts, but 19 of those runs came in just 4 of his starts. Garza is now 2-5 with a 4.07 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP on the season. He has made 1 regular season start against the Phillies and it came in June of 2009. He went 8 innings and only gave up 1 run as the Rays beat the Phillies 7-1. His only start at Citizens Bank Park came during in Game 3 of the 2008 World Series. He went 6 innings and gave up 4 runs on 6 hits; the Phillies were able to win the game off of the Rays bullpen with a walk off swinging bunt single by Carlos Ruiz in the 9th. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 13-51 (.255) against Garza in the regular season during their careers.
Sunday June 12, 1:35: RHP Roy Oswalt vs. LHP Doug Davis
Last season Oswalt was even better than most Phans thought after the Phillies acquired him at the deadline. This season has been a rocky one of the veteran pitcher. After he started the season 3-0 through his first 4 starts, everything that could go wrong for Oswalt has. He has had to deal with personal tragedy, injuries and lack of run support over the last month and a half. You add all of these ingredients up and Country Roy has gone winless since April 15. He is now 3-4 with a 3.05 ERA and a 1.30 WHIP on the season. The two scary things about his season are his decreased strikeouts and increase in WHIP. Last season he averaged 8.21 strikeouts per 9 innings and has averaged 7.38 during his career. So far this season, it is down to a career low 5.30. He had the lowest WHIP in the National league last year at 1.03. Oswalt has pitched in 32 games (31 starts) versus the Cubs, in those games he is 14-13 with a 3.82 ERA. Current Cubs hitters are a combined 23-83 (.261) against Oswalt during their careers.
The Cubs will send a pitcher to the mound Sunday who has less wins than the Phillies current utility man Wilson Valdez. Davis was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2008 and didn’t let that end his baseball career. After the surgery he was later declared cancer free and hasn’t had any known setbacks since. He has had a rough start to the season as he has lost his first 5 starts. Davis is 0-5 on the season with a 6.37 ERA and a 1.83 WHIP. He has made 8 career starts against the Phillies, in those starts he is 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA. In 4 starts at Citizens Bank Park he is 1-1 with a 4.81 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 12-54 (.222) against Davis in the regular season during their careers.
The Phillies will get another chance to play against another National League team that is struggling. They weren’t able to get the results against the Nationals and Pirates but those games are hopefully behind them. The Phillies have played better at home than they have on the road this season and they should be able to continue that success against the struggling Cubs. It is very hard to sweep a 4 game series against any team. The cubs are just 2-8 over their last 10 games and haven’t been playing very good baseball lately. But the lack of runs that the Phillies bats have produced lately will prevent me from predicting a 4 game sweep; I predict the Phillies will take 3 of the 4 games and hopefully they will be able get their bats back on track.