Last Series at the Atlanta Braves
Game 1, Monday: Phillies Win 6-1 in 13 Innings
As expected, this game was a pitcher’s duel. Cole Hamels struck out six batters in seven shutout innings while allowing five hits while Julio Teheren struck out six over eight innings of work. The only run Teheren allowed was a home run from Ryan Howard in the second inning. After Jonathan Papelbon blew the save in the ninth, the two teams continued the low-scoring affair; until the 13th inning. The Phillies exploded for five runs after Freddie Freeman mishandled a hard-hit ground ball from Ryan Howard that would have resulted in a double play to end the inning.
Game 2, Tuesday: Phillies Win 5-2
For the second time in as many days, Ryan Howard blasted a home run in his first at-bat. The early lead was exactly what Kyle Kendrick needed as he pitched seven innings, only allowing two runs, six hits, a walk, and striking out six. Papelbon made up for his blown save the night before by retiring the Braves 1-2-3 Tuesday.
Game 3, Wednesday: Phillies 10-5
The Phillies EXPLODED against the crafty vet Aaron Harrang making him look like the Harrang of old. Howard collected two more RBI to bring his total to 47. Marlon Byrd hit his 11th home run of the season. As I thought, the Phillies needed runs to support their starters as Roberto Hernandez allowed five runs over six innnings.
Was that a sweep? Whatever the Phillies ate in Atlanta, I hope they’re taking that along with them. The Phillies collected at least ten hits while scoring at least five runs in all three games–it’s tough to lose ball games when your offense produces with those numbers. Howard went 6 for 13 on the series with two homers and six RBI. Last week’s clutch-time hero, Reid Brignac, went 5 for 15 with three ribbies over the series as well. The Phils are getting hot at the right time as they now head to St. Louis.
Philadelphia Phillies (32-38) @ St. Louis Cardinals (39-33)
Thursday at 8:15 ET: David Buchanan (2-3) vs. Shelby Miller (7-5)
Friday at 8:15 ET: A.J. Burnett (4-6) vs. Jaime Garcia (3-0)
Saturday at 4:10 ET: Cole Hamels (2-3) vs. Adam Wainwright (9-3)
Sunday at 2:15 ET: Kyle Kendrick (3-6) vs. Michael Wacha (5-5)
The bats will need to stay hot and the pitching will need to be sharp against the Cardinals. The Cards have won eight of their last ten and are dynamite at home. If Cole can emulate his last start on Saturday, expect that game to be an all-out pitcher’s duel. For the Phillies to have a chance at even splitting this series, they’ll need to keep seeing the seeing the ball and getting on base. With a defensive alignment like St. Louis’, especially with Yadier Molina behind the plate, it’s tough to convert one or two baserunners into runs. That being said, I’d love to see Ben Revere test Molina every time he gets on. Regardless, the Phils will need to rally a lot and often this weekend.