Jul 19, 2010
Phillies look to rebound with four get set in St. Louis.
The swept the then NL Central leading Reds and were looking like the men of steel. The break came and went and a wake up call commenced over the weekend as the team went 1-3 in a four game set against the Chicago Cubs. The same Cubs that are currently 10 games back in the same NL Central.
The Phillies have suffered from the bug of inconsistency as of late. Sloppy play in the field, issues manufacturing runs and struggles from the starting pitchers have been keys but overall the team is suffering from a lost sense of identity.
Sometimes it takes a long road trip to fix mistakes but if the Cubs series was an indication things may get tougher this week in St. Louis. The Cardinals are not only on a hot streak, completing a four game sweep of the Dodgers over the weekend, but they are statistically one of the strongest teams in the league at home.
Wishing for an injury is never something an opposing fan likes to do but with yesterdays announcement that Albert Pujols is DTD with a foot injury Phillie fans may breathe a small sigh of relief. In fact, this may be the best thing to happen to the Phillies in weeks. Pujols is batting .307 with 21 HR's and is on his way to making another bid for NL MVP.
With Halladay and Hamels recent starts the Phillies are going to have to send out the bottom of the rotation in St. Louis.
Kyle Kendrick (5-3) will start game one against Blake Hawksworth (3-5) tonight. Both pitchers have shown lacks of control and consistency from the mound but with the stellar at bat showings from the Cardinals in recent weeks you never know what the outcome will be.
Game two will feature ageless wonder Jamie Moyer (9-9) taking on (10-3) Chris Carpenter. The teams will fill out the rest of the series in game three with even the even match-up of Jaime Garcia (8-4) against the ever inconsistent Joe Blanton (3-5).
In the finale the Phillies are hoping for another sign of greatness from Cole Hamels. Hes going to need it as he will take on Cardinals Adam Wainwright (14-5). Wainwright has been the teams hands down ace and his 2.02 ERA and 130 strikeouts does not bode well for the Phillies bipolar batting production.
The Phillies bats are in desperate need of improvement as they are ranked 22nd in hits and 23rd in batting average. They are living and dying with the homerun and the Phils are going to hit a buzzsaw as the Cardinals keep hits in the yard ranking 8th in least home runs allowed.
Not to mention that in today's weekly ESPN Power Ranking the Cardinals are sitting in 7th place as the strongest NL team coming out of the All-Star Break.
First pitch of tonight's game 1 is set for 7:00.