My optimistic outlook regarding the Phillies has not been rewarded. I’ve predicted series victories (if not a sweep) in both post-All-Star break series, and all I’ve seen is two wins in seven games. That’s not a solid ratio.
But my optimism is not easily squashed. I remain steadfast in my belief that better days are imminent. And I suspect that those better days will begin in this series against the Diamondbacks.
The last time they met
When they played in April, the Phillies took two out of three games, and emerged from the series with a winning record. Seems like a long time ago, huh?
That series featured clutch hitting, some key defensive plays, and a win by Jeff Manship. So yeah, it seems like a really long time ago.
What’s new with the Diamondbacks
At 44-58, the Diamondbacks have the same record as the Phillies, but unlike the Phils, they are not in last place. It must be nice having an even worse team (the Rockies) in the division.
The main culprit behind the Diamondbacks struggles has been a pitching staff that ranks 26th in the majors in ERA. They simply can’t keep opponents off the scoreboard.
Diamondbacks player who isn’t entirely horrible
It would be tough to pick anyone besides Paul Goldschmidt. Considering the state of the D-Backs’ pitching staff, pretty much all of their pitchers qualify as horrible. Meanwhile, Goldschmidt is leading the team in just about every key offensive category.
For those of you who still like to check the old RBI column on the stats page, Goldschmidt is currently tied for second in the National League. While that is not as prestigious as it would have been ten years ago, it shows that he’s at least doing something right.
Diamondbacks player who is horrible
Relief pitcher Matt Stites is on quite a roll. In his last appearance, he gave up four runs in one inning. Two appearances before that, he allowed three runs in just one-third of an inning.
He did sandwich a scoreless outing in between those two, but the Phillies would still feel fortunate if he were to enter the game.
Reasons the Phillies will win
1. There’s no way Cliff Lee has two bad starts in a row, right?
2. Assuming Ryan Howard gets to play in one of these games, he should be feeling pretty angry. And an angry Howard might just equal a productive Howard. (Nothing else seems to be working)
3. Carlos Ruiz is back! I figured Chooch is worth a win or two by himself.
Reasons why the Diamondbacks may win
It’s always possible the Diamondbacks could get lucky. Here are a couple of ways they could sneak a victory.
1. Kyle Kendrick is starting one of the games.
2. If Cliff Lee isn’t quite right, it may be very possible that he has two bad starts in a row.
It was obviously a bit ridiculous to predict wins against good teams like the Braves and Giants. But against a lousy team like the Diamondbacks? Victory is guaranteed! The Phillies will sweep.
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Tags: Philadelphia Phillies