The Philadelphia Phillies open a 4-game series on Monday at Citizens Bank Park against the San Diego Padres.
The Phils are fresh off back-to-back victories over the defending NL champion New York Mets at Citi Field over the weekend that helped restore some equilibrium. The club had begun the season with a disheartening 0-4 start, but the series win over the Mets helped to restore their confidence.
The Padres were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in three games at home to start the season, three games in which they failed to score a single run. The Friars made up for those goose eggs, breaking out for 13 runs on Friday and 16 runs on Saturday at Coors Field, helping the club take 2 out of 3 at the Colorado Rockies.
San Diego has now registered five consecutive losing seasons, and suffered losing campaigns in seven of the last eight years. In the first 47 seasons of the franchise existence they have reached the postseason just five times, appearing in and losing two World Series in 1984 and 1998.
In a 2015 season during which the Phillies suffered through the worst record in baseball, they handled the Padres, taking five of the six games between the teams. The Phils swept out in San Diego in early August, and then won two of three at home in late August.
38-year old Andy Green is in his first season at the helm with the Padres. His offensive attack features right fielder Matt Kemp, catcher Derek Norris, and 1st baseman Wil Myers. Kemp, a former NL MVP runner-up and a two-time Gold Glover and Silver Slugger Award winner, is off to a hot start. The now 31-year old leads the club with a .429 average with three homers and 10 RBI over the first five games.
MONDAY: Andrew Cashner (0-1, 11.25 ERA) vs Aaron Nola (0-0, 1.29 ERA): the 23-year old Nola went 7 innings in his season debut at Great American Ballpark in one of the games blown by the Phils bullpen early last week. He provided typical control, walking no one. He also allowed just four hits and struck out seven batters in the kind of outing that the Phillies hope to see him deliver out of their rotation for years to come. A 29-year old right-hander, Cashner is in his 7th MLB season. A former 1st round pick by the Chicago Cubs as the 19th overall player in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft, he slumped to a 6-16 record with a 4.34 ERA a year ago when he allowed 200 hits in 184.1 innings, and saw his walks total soar to 66, by far a career high. The problem was that his sinker, previously a signature pitch, failed to, well, sink. If his mechanical problems are fixed, he can be a tough one. The Dodgers whacked him around for five earned runs and six hits over just four innings in his first start.
(1-0, 0.00 ERA) vsCharlie Morton
(0-1, 14.73 ERA): the 32-year old Morton was rolling along solidly until the Cincinnati Reds opened up on him in the bottom of the 4th inning on Thursday afternoon. Morton was ultimately charged with six earned runs on five hits and two walks over just 3.2 innings in his first official Phillies regular season start. 25-year old Robbie Erlin was due to pitch out of the bullpen, but has been moved into the Padres rotation due to an injury toTyson Ross
. Erlin has allowed 141 hits over 136.2 career innings and has made 23 starts over parts of four big league seasons. In a typical Coors Field slugfest this past Friday, Erlin calmed things down with 3.2 shutout innings over which he allowed just one hit. Generally considered a good control pitcher with a decent changeup, Erlin should not overpower the Phils’ hitters.
WEDNESDAY: Colin Rea (0-0, 12.46 ERA) vs Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 3.60 ERA): Eickhoff was slowed in spring training by a slight thumb fracture. Now healed, he still has to be considered slightly behind the other starters. He was able to last five innings in Friday’s loss to open the Mets series, allowing two earned runs on five hits and two walks. A year ago, the now 25-year old Eickhoff was the revelation of the Hamels trade, and a big spotlight remains on him this season to see if he can pull a repeat performance. Rea is a 25-year old rookie who, similar to Eickhoff, got his first taste of the big leagues with a half-dozen 2015 starts. A 12th round MLB Amateur Draft pick back in 2011, Rea was a member of the US team in last summer’s Futures Game. He can throw four pitches for strikes, though as is typical with most inexperienced big league starters, his fastball is ahead of his breaking pitches. If he is on, he could be tough.
THURSDAY: Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 3.60) vs Vincent Velasquez (1-0, 0.00 ERA): Velasquez was the lead piece in the Phillies big trade with Houston this past off-season, and was the breakout performer in spring training, seizing a role in the starting rotation during an open competition. He continued brilliant in pitching the Phillies to their first win of the season on Saturday night in New York. Pomeranz has not been officially named, but is the likely starter for San Diego after he struck out seven Rockies to earn the win this past Saturday. The 5th overall player taken in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians, Pomeranz has already been traded three times while making 49 starts over 109 games pitched over the past five seasons spent with the Rockies and Athletics.
KEYS TO PHILLIES VICTORY
POUND PADS PITCHING
: this is not an elite pitching staff, and the Phils’ bats need to take advantage. This will be a chance to see the 1st base platoon in operation, as both Erlin and Pomeranz are southpaws, meaning thatDarin Ruf
should get at least two starts. He andRyan Howard
need to do damage in the middle of the order to keep pitchers throwing toOdubel Herrera
in the 3-4 slots of the batting order.
MORE FROM MORTON: Morton is known as a ground ball pitcher, and needs to keep the ball out of the air better than he did against the Reds last week. He is an experienced starting pitcher who won’t overpower the Padres, but who can frustrate them if he is on his game.
HOME OPENER JINX?: the Phillies have just a 23-35-1 record over the history of the franchise in home openers, and are just 9-17 over the last couple of decades. The club needs to take advantage of the momentum generated by the two straight wins over the Mets, momentum that should help result in good vibes from what could be a rare big crowd, and keep the winning going.
|Monday, April 11th||vs. San Diego Padres||3:05 PM||NBC 10||94 WIP FM radio|
|Tuesday, April 12th||vs. San Diego Padres||7:05 PM||TCN||94 WIP FM radio|
|Wednesday, April 13th||vs. San Diego Padres||7:05 PM||TCN||94 WIP FM radio|
|Thursday, April 14th||vs. San Diego Padres||1:05 PM||CSN||94 WIP FM radio|
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE forecast for Citizens Bank Park in South Philly
A chance of showers, mainly before 1pm. Cloudy, with a high near 62. Breezy, with a south wind 13 to 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Showers. High near 56. Southwest wind around 14 mph becoming north in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
A slight chance of showers before 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 40. North wind 10 to 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 57.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 40.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 61.
INJURIES / DISABLED LIST
|4/2||Aaron Altherr, LF||Torn tendon in left wrist (on 60-day DL)|
|4/2||Matt Harrison, P||Lower back inflammation (on 60-day DL)|
|4/2||Mario Hollands, P||Recovery from left elbow surgery (on 60-day DL)|
|3/25||Cody Asche, LF||Strained right oblique (on 15-day DL)|
|3/25||Michael Mariot, P||Right ankle sprain (on 15-day DL)|
SAN DIEGO PADRES
|4/10||Yangervis Solarte, 3B||Strained right hamstring (on 15-day DL)|
|4/5||Tyson Ross, P||Right shoulder inflammation (on 15-day DL)|
|4/4||Matt Thornton, P||Left Achilles tendonitis (on 15-day DL)|
|3/25||Buddy Baumann, P||Lower back strain (on 15-day DL)|
|3/25||Jon Edwards, P||Right elbow tightness (on 15-day DL)|