The Philadelphia Phillies welcome the New York Mets to the Bank for a four game set over the weekend, fresh off the back of a sweep against the Houston Astros, to earn the third home sweep of the year for Philly. Sean O’Sullivan was flown in from Toledo just in time to make the start, and was roughed up early, but stabilised to allow Ryan Howard to give the Phillies the lead with an 8th inning grand slam. Jonathan Papelbon came in to earn save number 27 on the season, and the Phillies swept the Astros, with 6-5 the final score.
Tonight, the Phillies will send A.J. Burnett to the mound, a man who will be hoping to improve on his recent form. In his last start, Burnett and Ryne Sandberg were both tossed for arguing with umpire Chris Guccione, after Burnett had given up 5 runs through 1.2 innings on 3 hits. That set the tone for a beat down in which Phillippe Aumont fell apart, with the eventual end score 11-0 Nationals. Over his last 10 starts A.J. has struggled, going 2-6 with an ERA of 4.06, and in truth he has had little run support. That ten game stretch is the real reason his record is at 6-11 for the season, with a 4.16 ERA and 124 strikeouts, and in his last two starts he has given up 12 runs in 6.2 innings.
The Phillies will be up against righty Bartolo Colon, who has had a real up-and-down season for the New Yorkers. In his last start, Colon allowed 6 runs in 4.2 innings, which was a contrast to the start on the 28th against the Phillies when he pitched 7.2 innings of 1-run ball. On the season, Bartolo is 10-9 with a 4.12 ERA, including 111 strikeouts, going 5-4 in his last 10 with a 3.91 ERA.
After a clutch offensive performance last night, Ryan Howard will be hoping to continue his resurgent form at the plate. He has hit lefties a whole lot better than righties this year, going .238 with a .505 slugging percentage, which is a whole 161 points higher than his .344 SLG against righties, against whom he has a .215 average.
Carlos Ruiz will be catching for the Phillies, and he went 2-for-3 at the plate last night with a RBI. Through August however he is struggling, going .125 through 16 at-bats with a .364 OPS.
The Phillies will go with the same Sizemore-Revere-Byrd outfield for the fourth night running, with the slumping but now recovered Dominic Brown still on the bench. Brown hasn’t started a game since July 29th versus the Mets, but has come off the bench four times since, without registering a hit.
Revere CF, Rollins SS, Utley 2B, Howard 1B, Byrd RF, Sizemore LF, Ruiz C, Asche 3B, Burnett P
Granderson RF, Murphy 2B, Wright 3B, Duda 1B, d’Arnaud C, Nieuwenhuis LF, Lagares CF, Flores SS, Colon P