Jul 5, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher David Buchanan (55) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the second inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Buchanan back; Phillies look to take series from Astros

The Philadelphia Phillies outlasted the Houston Astros last night, eventually winning 2-1 in the 15th inning after Ryan Howard put his issues behind him with a walk-off single. The Phils got a great start from Kyle Kendrick and stellar work from Ken Giles, Antonio Bastardo, Jake Diekman, Justin De Fratus, Mario Hollands and finally Hector Neris, who picked up his first win. Dallas Keuchel was unlucky in the end, pitching 7 innings of one-run ball, and Jake Buchanan took the loss out of the Astros ‘pen to move to 1-2 on the season.

Tonight, the Phillies send David Buchanan to the mound for his first start filling in for the injured Cliff Lee, who is out for the season with an elbow injury. In his 10 starts this season (whilst Lee was out with the original elbow injury), Buchanan went 5-5 with an ERA of 4.40, including 39 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.28. David will be looking to improve on those numbers and lower the ERA, but most would argue he is the most solid choice to fill in the missing rotation spot.

Taking the mound for the Astros is righty Brad Peacock, who has struggled this season so far. Peacock is 3-7 with a 4.93 ERA over 15 starts, and has even pitched at Triple-A Oklahoma this year to try and regain form, pitching 1 game and getting the win despite giving up 3 runs over 5.2 innings. His WHIP has been a huge problem, at 1.59 having walked 48 batters in 87.2 Major League innings this season, and an opponent batting average of .270 hasn’t helped matters.

Ryan Howard will be looking to push on from last night’s offensive performance in which he drove in the two runs that ultimately won the ball game, including a homer in the bottom 2nd to give Philly a 1-0 lead. Despite this, he is still hitting a meagre .217 on the season, but leads the team with 65 RBIs. He was placed on waivers, so any production from here on out should boost his trade value, or alternatively help him win back the first base spot from the current platoon situation.

Dominic Brown still doesn’t feature in the line-up despite recovering from a throat infection which kept him out of the past three games before last night, in which he appeared in the 9th as a pinch hitter and grounded out.
Chase Utley will be looking to snap out of a cold streak. He’s managed 1 hit in his last 6 games, that being last night against Houston, in which he also walked 3 times. His average has dropped to .279 for the season, which is still a good average but is 5 points lower than his career mark of .284.

Jimmy Rollins is another player hoping to heat up. He was hitless in 7 at-bats last night as his average dropped to .239 on the season, but his production has been better recently.

Wil Nieves is on catching duty for the Phillies. He has been hitting well, at .275 on the season with a .364 OBP in 19 games for the Phillies this year.


Lineups 8/6:

Phillies

Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Byrd RF, Sizemore LF, Nieves C, Asche 3B, Buchanan P

Nationals

Altuve 2B, Grossman RF, Carter LF, Singleton 1B, Dominguez 3B, Corporan C, Marsinick CF, Petit SS, Peacock P

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