Apr 18, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran (3) hits a solo home run during the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Phillies Gameday: Streaking In The Wrong Direction

Didn’t someone say how the Phillies early schedule was going to be a cake walk?

Three games against the Marlins certainly did the trick, but the Phillies are just 4-9 against the rest of baseball. With only 16 games remaining against lowly Miami they’ll have to find a way to win some games against these other teams, starting with St. Louis. Adam Wainright was a tough matchup last night, but it won’t get any easier against Jaime Garcia. Struggling against left handed pitching has plagued this club even when things were going well, so don’t get your hopes up for much run support Roy.

“This scene has been happening much earlier than usual for Doc” Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Halladay (1-2, 7.63 ERA)

Phillies nation let out a deep breath after Halladay’s last outing against the Marlins. He went eight innings against the fish, and was more than good enough to get the victory. But, those were the Marlins. Tonight he goes up against a stacked lineup that includes Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, and Yadier Molina. Halladay’s outing against the fish wasn’t without some lingering warning signs either. Despite going eight innings Doc only struck out two batters. His fastball velocity was a bit better hovering around 88-89mph, but the movement on his two-seamer still isn’t what we’re used to seeing from him. If his stuff doesn’t continue to improve, expect the savvy Cardinals lineup to feast on Halladay’s junk.

“Garcia’s one tough little lefty” Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Jaime Garcia (1-0, 1.86 ERA)

It feels like Garcia has been in the league for quite some time, but he’s just 26 years old entering his fourth full season. He’s been a reliable member of the rotation when healthy, and Garcia looks like he’s on his game in the early going. His fastball won’t blow anyone away, but he mixes in his devastating slider that reaks havoc on lefties (Ryan Howard I”m talking about you). All those tight sliders have contributed to elbow trouble for the young lefty in the past. With Chris Carpenter on the DL for the year Garcia’s success will have a huge impact on how far the Cardinals will go. There’s a lot riding on that tricky elbow of his, but the Phillies appear to be catching it at the wrong time.

Game Notes:

The Phillies Big-3 of Utley, Howard, and Rollins have faced Garcia quite a bit in their careers, and it ain’t pretty. They are hitting a combined 6-43 (.140) with a whole lotta strike outs. These old heads are the key to the season for this lineup. As they go, so goes the team. Utley has cooled off of late, and Howard and Rollins continue to look for some semblance of their former glory. Garcia may not be the ideal guy to get things going, but there’s no time better than the present.

You know who loves seeing Roy Hallday take the hill? Carlos Beltran. To say Beltran is Doc’s kryptonite may be an understatement. Here’s Beltran’s line,

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Carlos Beltran 50 46 15 1 0 3 11 3 11 .326 .360 .543 .903
Total 155 146 33 5 0 5 17 6 34 .226 .260 .363 .623
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/19/2013.

OK, so Hallady should clearly avoid throwing Beltran anything to hit. If Doc can follow that simple philosophy he should be able to stay out of trouble. The only other Cardinal hitter who’s had any success facing Doc is Ty Wigginton and we all know how much that’s worth.

Expect a good outing from Halladay, maybe not the eight innings tossed against Miami, but good enough to give the Phillies a chance. The bats will continue to struggle off of Garcia, but I”ll throw in for  some more late game heroics by the Phils, this time by Dominic Brown. No better way to end a losing streak than with a walk off.

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Tags: Jaime Garcia Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay