Most phans expected a sweep going into today’s game, but that thought was quickly forgotten really early. A Rollins error helped the Mets jump out of the gate early with a 4 run 1st inning. Worley clearly didn’t have his best stuff today and the Phillies AAA lineup could only muster 5 runs. Even with the 9-5 loss today, they were able to take 2 of 3 and have now won all 3 series versus the Mets this season. The Phillies once again got great starting pitcher during the 1st two games and were able to get late runs off of the Mets bullpen to pull out the wins.
Their bats continued to stay hot as they scored 16 runs during the 3 game series. The presence of Chase and the hot bat of the young Dom Brown have clearly made an impact on this previous ailing lineup. Utley collected 2 hits during the series to raise his average up to .238 and Dom’s pinch hit single today raised his average up to .320. Brown looked a lot better during the series as he went 5-7 with 2 RBI’S this weekend. The Phillies are now 33-20 and own the best winning percentage in all of baseball and are 2 games ahead of the talented young Marlins squad. Some expect the Fish to fall off after a hot start but I wouldn’t be surprised if they can hang in there all season. Florida has one of the best pitchers in baseball to go along with a few solid arms; they have a very talented young lineup and finally have a pen that should hold up.
The Phillies continue their 9 come road trip against 3 inferior opponents as they head to Washington for a 3 game set that begins tomorrow afternoon. The Nationals have taken a nose dove after their solid start. Until recently they were hanging around .500 but it seems that their injuries have caught up with them. They are now 22-30 and are 10.5 games behind the first place Phillies. The Nats have lost their last 2 games and are just 2-8 over their last 10 games. They have been without their best player Ryan Zimmerman for the majority of the season and have recently lost 1b Adam LaRoche indefinitely. Their lineup and offensive production has had to rely on their 127 million dollar right fielder; I think you are probably familiar with him. He is batting just .255 with 8 homeruns and 19 RBI’s. Werth has also done his fair share of complaining about the direction and the play of the team over the past few weeks. In a recent press conference he called for “changes” but failed to elaborate of what those changes should be.
Monday May 30 1:05: RHP Roy Halladay vs. RHP Livan Hernandez
For those who don’t remember, Doc was the Phillies starting pitcher during that 19 inning marathon Wednesday night. Going into a game that Doc starts, you would think it would be over in less than 3 hours. But before the bridge to Valdez pitched 5 scoreless innings and handed it over our new "closer," it lasted over 6 hours. Halladay went 7 innings and gave up just 3 runs despite scattering 11 Reds “hits”. He is now 6-3 with a 2.35 ERA and 1.04 WHIP. Doc has owned the Nats during his career, in 13 starts (14 games) he is 10-1 with a 2.01 ERA. At Nationals Park he is even better, in 3 starts he is 3-0 with a 1.08 ERA. In the 5 starts he has made against them as a Phillie, he is 5-0! He is already 2-0 against them this season. Current Nationals hitters are just 19-128 (.148) while facing Halladay during their careers.
The “36” year old Hernandez has had another solid start to the season. It seems as though he has been pitching in the majors forever but he continues to be able to get people out. He is now just 3-6 despite a solid 3.71 ERA and a 1.36 WHIP. Hernandez has lost his last 4 decisions and the Nationals have lost his last 5 starts. The streak’s were started by the Phillies as they scored 4 runs on Hernandez in 6.1 innings and handed him the loss May 3rd. Livan is 1-1 with a 3.46 ERA against the Phillies this season. He has made 29 starts versus the Phillies, in those starts he is 12-11 with a 3.59 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are 36-108 (.305) while facing Hernandez during their careers.
Tuesday May 31 7:05: LHP Cliff Lee vs. RHP Jason Marquis
Clifton had gone over a month without winning a game, now he has earned the win in his last two starts. He didn’t seem to have his best stuff on the mound in Thursday’s game with the Reds, but his big bat and his 3 RBI’s made up for it. Lee went 8 innings and gave up 4 runs on 10 hits. He is now 4-4 with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. His previous start at Nationals Park was a gem as he pitched a complete game shutout against them on April 14th. In 3 starts against the Nats during his career, he is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA. 2 of those starts were at Nationals Park, in those starts he is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA. Current Nationals hitters are just 13-63 (.208) while facing Lee during their careers.
Marquis has had to redevelop his pitching style during his career. While he was a member of the Cardinals, he became a ground ball pitcher and it has done a great job of continuing his career. He is a pitcher that you can hit if you can get him to bring the ball up, but if you keep swinging at the sinker down in the zone, it could be a long night. The journeyman pitcher is now 5-2 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. He has a 6.21 ERA during the month of May and has given up 9 runs in his last 10 innings. On May 4th, he lasted just 5 innings as he surrendered 7 runs (6 ER) on 10 hits against the Phillies. He has pitched in 25 games (18 starts) versus the Phillies, in those games he is 5-8 with a 5.61 ERA. Current Phillies hitters are 41-117 (.350) while facing Marquis during their careers.
Wednesday June 1 1:05: RHP Roy Oswalt vs. LHP John Lannan
Roy has pitched great since his return from the disabled list but has yet to get a win because of poor run support. He has given up just 3 earned runs in his last 3 starts but is somehow 0-1 during that span. Oswalt is now 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP on the season. Wednesdays’ start versus the Nats will be Roy’s first start against them this season. He hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 2 starts versus the Nationals. Oswalt has pitched in 17 games (15 starts) against the Nats; he is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA in those starts. In 4 starts at Nationals Park, he is 0-1 with a 4.24 ERA. Current Nationals hitters are 20-94 (.213) while facing Oswalt during their careers.
John Lannan has been a solid back of the rotation type of pitcher for the Nationals over the last few years. The only problem is they needed him to be one of their best pitchers and that is something he should never be. He is now 2-5 with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP on the season. Lannan probably wants to run away and hide when he sees the Phillies on the schedule. In 13 starts against them, he is 0-10 with a 6.44 ERA. Earlier this season the Phillies scored 6 runs on Lannan in just 2 innings before showing him the door. With Wednesday being a day game against a lefty, it will be interesting to see if Charlie gives Chase the day off. Lannan is infamously known in Philly for breaking the hand of Utley with a pitch in 2007 but with the off day the following day, you never know what the plain might be. Current Phillies hitters are 55-168 (.327) while facing Lannan during their careers.
The Phillies need to keep the pedal to the metal when they play a pesky team like the Nats. They are a team that can easily beat you if you take them lightly. Despite a poor season, they do have talent. Washington just lacks the starting pitching to compete and that should be something that will improve in the future when Strasburg returns from his injury. The Nats have a lot of young talent in the majors and in their system. We just don’t know if there RF will still be able to contribute when their young guns are ready. I predicted a sweep during the last series and that obviously didn’t come true. Looking at the pitching matchups, the Phillies have a significant edge in all 3 games and its hard to see where the Nats could squeak out a win. I predict the Phillies will sweep the 3 game series and then take a much needed off day on Thursday.