It was disappointing to loss the series finale yesterday afternoon to the Giants but taking 3 out of 4 from the defending champions has to be seen as a success. The Phillies showed their dominance over the 4 game series as they tried to put last year’s night mare behind them. While the Phillies are cruising to another NL East championship, the Giants find themselves fighting for their playoff lives. Yesterday’s loss snapped the Phightin’s 9 game winning streak and it was just the team’s 40 loss of the season The Phillies are currently a MLB best 74-40 and have a 8.5 game lead over the Braves in the division. Tonight the Phillies play the final 3 games of their 10 game West Coast road trip as they take on the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Meet the Dodgers
The Dodgers will always be part of Phillies history because of their role in the Phillies postseason runs in 2008 and 2009. In both season the Phillies defeated the Dodgers in the NLCS. Sadly for the Phillies and their phans, Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton is on the DL and will miss the series between the two teams. Broxton will always be remembered for giving up Matt Stairs tremendous homerun in 2008 and Jimmy Rollins 2 run walk off double in game 4 of the 2009 NLCS. The Dodgers are in the middle of another disappointing year amidst the controversy with their ownership. They are just 52-61 and are 10 games behind the Giants in the NL West. The Phillies catch a break and will miss their terrific young pitcher Clayton Kershaw. The Dodgers still have a lot of talent with 5 tool outfielder Matt Kemp and talented right fielder Andre Ethier.
Monday August 8, 10:10: RHP Roy Halladay vs. RHP Hiroki Kuroda
I think that Doc shows his brilliance in the games that he doesn’t have his best stuff. And it was clear Wednesday afternoon that Halladay didn’t have it but he still gutted it out and gave the team 7 strong innings. It was a strange afternoon at Coors Field but Halladay was able to earn his 14th win of the season. He is now 14-4 with a 2.55 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP so far this season. Tonight’s’ start will be his 4th career start against the Dodgers, in those games he is 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA. He has made 3 starts at Dodger Stadium, in those starts he is 2-1 with a 2.35 ERA. Current Dodgers hitters are a combined 29-93 (.312) while facing Halladay during their careers.
Kuroda’s name was in the middle of a lot of trade talks, but the non waivers trade deadline came and went and Kuroda is still on the Dodgers. There is still a chance he will get moved but is unlikely that the talented 36 year old righty would make it through waivers without being claimed. He has pitched very well this season despite being on a team that isn’t going anywhere. Kuroda is currently 7-13 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Perhaps the Phillies would have liked to see Kuroda traded to another team because they have struggled to hit the righty during his career. In 5 regular season starts against them, he is 2-1 with a 0.84 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 13-87 (.149) while facing Kuroda during their careers.
Tuesday August 9, 10:10: LHP Cliff Lee vs. LHP Ted Lilly
Lee was brilliant in his start on Thursday night against the Giants. He was able to put his poor World Series performance against San Fran behind him and completely shut down their light hitting offense. Clifton scattered 7 hits and struck out 8 as he pitched his MLB best 5th shutout of the season. Lee is 11-7 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP so far this season. This season Lee’s performances have been feast or famine, it seems he is either throws a shutout or he gets hit hard. The Phillies can only hope that Lee gets on another run like he did earlier this season. Lee has made 2 career regular season starts versus the Dodgers, in those starts he is 1-0 with a 0.63 ERA. In his one career regular season start at Dodger Stadium, he received a no decision as he gave up just 1 run in 7.1 innings. Current Dodgers hitters are a combined 18-97 (.186) while facing Lee during their careers.
Tomorrow nights battle will be a battle of the lefties as the Dodgers will send Ted Lilly to the hill to oppose Lee. The former Cub was acquired at last year’s trade deadline by the Dodgers and has been a disappointment for the team so far this season. Lilly is 7-11 with a 4.86 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. He has made 7 starts against the Phillies during his career, in those games he is just 1-5 with a 5.49 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 35-151 (.232) while facing Lilly during their careers.
Wednesday August 10, 3:10: RHP Vance Worley vs. RHP Chad Billingsley
The young Vance Worley was right tin the middle of the action on Friday night. Despite all of the distractions on the field, Worley shut down the Giants for the 2nd time in a little over a week. He didn’t throw at any of the Giants hitters to get revenge for his players, Worley just continued to get hitters out and hurt them on the scoreboard. The 23 year old rookie is 8-1 with 2.35 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP so far this season. He has “struggled” over his last 3 starts as he has given up 8 runs over that span. Wednesday’s start will be the rookie’s first start against the Dodgers during his career and it will be the 1st time he will face any current Dodger.
Chad Billingsley is a former 1st round pick and has never lived up the hype that comes with it. He started his career out strong and he seemed to put it together during the 2008 season. During that season he won 16 games and had a 3.14 ERA. But things have gone downhill for the 27 year old over the last 3 seasons as he has failed to have an ERA under 3.5 in any of them and an ERA under 4 in two of them. Billingsley is currently 10-9 with a 4.17 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP so far this season. He has made 5 career regular season starts against the Phillies, in those games he is 1-2 with a 3.19 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are a combined 25-78 (.321) while facing Billingsley during their careers.
The Phillies have had a great road trip so far as they have won 6 of the first 7 games. They now head to the team from California that they had a brewing rivalry with just a few years ago. Just like the rivalry with the Mets has faded because of their poor play, the same has happened with the Dodgers. Their ownership has been the topic of a lot of controversy and this has made it difficult for the team to play well on the field. The Dodgers have played better baseball recently and are still a team that needs to be taken seriously. I predict the Phillies will BEAT LA and sweep the 3 game series and finish their road trip with a 9-1 record.