Phillies (7-12) vs. Cardinals (12-5)
How We Got Here
The Philadelphia Phillies come to town still trying to find their footing on the 2015 season. While not expected to be “contenders,” they’re hoping put up more of a fight than their 7-12 record shows.
The Cardinals are hobbling back to the safety of Busch Stadium after a road trip that started with taking down the World Series favorite Washington Nationals (who are, coincidentally, tied with the Phillies for last place in the NL East), and ended with more injuries than one fanbase should have to process in one weekend. With Adam Wainwright likely out for the season, and Yadier Molina and Jason Heyward down for the count, at least temporarily, the Birds could use a strong series against a struggling team to reclaim some of the positive vibes that apparently were left in D.C.
- Despite a tough outing for Lance Lynn in the series finale against the Brewers, the Cardinals still own the best staff ERA in baseball (2.24).
- Matt Carpenter’s hitting streak ended in Milwaukee, but he still leads MLB with 10 doubles on the year. He also has more doubles than strikeouts (9) on the year. So, there’s that.
- While the Cardinals are a lackluster 23rd in runs scored this season (66), the Phillies come in dead last (49).
- The Cardinals are 5-1 at home. The Phillies are 1-6 on the road.
Basically, this is one of those on-paper matchup that should be a good one for the Cardinals to gain a few wins that they’ll need against the NLC opponents coming up on the schedule. But with the Birds reeling from the latest personnel hits, and the Phils desperate to have a good road trip, nothing is off the table.
(Last 7 days)
– Freddy Glavis: 6 G, 8 H, 1 HR, 2 RBI
– Ryan Howard: 5 G, 4 H, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB
– Johnny Peralta: 6 G, 10 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB
– Matt Carpenter: 6 G, 8 H, 3 2B, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 BB
– Kolten Wong: 6 G, 9 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB
– Chase Utley: 5 G, 2 H, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 4 BB
– Odubel Herrera: 6 G, 5 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 1 BB
– Mark Reynolds: 6 G, 2 H, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB
– Jon Jay: 6 G, 6 H, 0 RBI, 3 BB
Monday, April 27, 7:15 p.m.
Cole Hamels (LHP) vs. John Lackey (RHP)
2015: 0-2, 3.75 ERA, 7 HR, 12 BB, 23 SO
Last start: After getting off to a (typically) subpar start this season, Hamels began to right the ship against the Marlins. In his first 3 starts, Hamels allowed 10 earned runs. In his fourth start, he allowed 1 unearned run in 5 innings, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. It was the first of his four 2015 starts in which he did not surrender a home run.
Vs. Cards: 2-4, 3.25 ERA
– Jason Heyward: .219 AVG, 32 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Matt Holliday: .250 AVG, 12 AB, 0 HR, 1 RBI
– Yadier Molina: .385 AVG, 13 AB, 0 HR, 3 RBI
– Jhonny Peralta: .333 AVG, 6 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Mark Reynolds: .400 AVG, 10 AB, 2 HR, 6 RBI
– Matt Carpenter: .000 AVG, 6 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
2015: 1-0, 4.34 ERA, 2 HR, 4 BB, 13 SO
Last Start: In a rotation that has been the best in the league, Lackey has seemed to be the worst of the best. That is, in part, due to the 5-run third inning against the Nationals in his last start. But beyond that messy inning, he’s done a decent job at limiting damage, surrendering runs in just 3 of 18.2 innings pitched.
Vs. Phillies: 2-3, 3.38 ERA
– Jeff Francoeur: .333 AVG, 3 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Ryan Howard: .300 AVG, 10 AB, 2 HR, 2 RBI
– Carlos Ruiz: .000 AVG, 7 AB, 0 HR, 1 RBI
– Chase Utley: .286 AVG, 7 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Tuesday, April 28 7:15 p.m.
Severino Gonzalez (RHP) vs. Michael Wacha (RHP)
Making Major League debut in place of injured starter, Sean O’Sullivan. Gonzalez was the Phillies’ 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, but had a less-than-stellar 2014, spending the entire season at AA Reading. After just 3 AAA starts, he’ll bring his low-90s fastball, a curveball, and a changeup to try to stifle the St. Louis lineup. Without overpowering stuff, he’ll rely heavily on his command, as well as the guidance of Carlos Ruiz. (For a “feel good” moment, read through the story of how Gonzalez learned of his promotion HERE.)
2015 (AAA): 1-1, 3.57 ERA, 2 HR, 2 BB, 9 SO
Vs. Cardinals: N/A
2015: 3-0, 1.33 ERA, 2 HR, 4 BB, 12 SO
Last Start: In as marquee a matchup as you’ll find, Wacha faced off against Max Scherzer, after out-dueling Reds’ ace Johnny Cueto twice to start the year. And Wacha didn’t even flinch. The bats gave him a one-run lead to start the game, and Wacha did the rest, going 7 strong innings, surrendering one run on five hits, and striking out six. After being somewhat of a question mark to begin the year, he’s done a fine job of eliminating the doubts thus far.
Vs. Phillies: N/A
Wednesday, April 29, 7:15 p.m.
Aaron Harang (RHP) vs. Carlos Martinez (RHP)
2015: 2-1, 1.37 ERA, 1 HR, 6 BB, 21 SO
Last Start: While they Phillies as a whole have been pretty terrible, Harang has been pretty solid. He’s gone at least six innings in each of his four starts, and tossed eight scoreless against the Braves on Friday, retiring the first 10 batters in a row. However, his success against the Cardinals over the years has been limited. Look for Harang to take advantage of the new-found aggressiveness from the Cardinals, and get them to swing early and often. (Some “Fun with Numbers” could lead to some interesting lineup decisions, too, as some unlikely starters have had success against Harang in the past.)
Vs. Cardinals: 7-15, 4.27 ERA
Vs. STL Hitters:
– Peter Bourjos: .467 AVG, 15 AB, 1 HR, 4 RBI
– Matt Carpenter: .400 AVG, 5 AB, 0 HR, 2 RBI
– Jason Heyward: .333 AVG, 9 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Matt Holliday: .231 AVG, 13 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Jon Jay: .143 AVG, 7 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Jhonny Peralta: .400 AVG, 10 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Yadier Molina: .188 AVG, 16 AB, 0 HR. 1 RBI
2015: 2-0, 1.35 ERA, 3 HR, 7 BB, 21 SO
Last Start: The seven-inning outing against the Brewers on Friday was the deepest Martinez and pitched in four starts this season. Milwaukee’s failure to launch in April aside, Martinez once again wowed with scoreless inning after scoreless inning. The number five starter is second only to Wacha in ERA, and is holding opponents to a staff-best .167 average. Just keep doing what you do, Carlos.
Vs. Phillies: 1-0, 3.38 ERA
Vs. PHI Hitters:
– Cody Asche: .500 AVG, 2 AB, 0 HR, 3 RBI
– Ryan Howard: 1.000 AVG, 2 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
Thursday, April 30, 1:45 p.m
TV: FS-M, MLBN
David Buchanan (RHP) vs. TBA
2015: 0-4, 7.52 ERA, 1 HR, 12 BB, 11 SO
Last Start: Despite going 6 2/3 innings with just 87 pitches, and giving up just three runs on two hits, Buchanan could not secure his first victory since August 11, 2014. Pitcher’s Wins/Losses being the arbitrary stat they are, though, here’s the rest of the story – Buchanan pitched just three innings in his first start, and didn’t get passed the sixth until his fourth start (Saturday). More walks than strikeouts tends to spell trouble, and his club can’t afford all those free passes.
Vs. Cardinals: 1-0, 2.13 ERA
Vs. STL Hitters:
– Matt Adams: .200 AVG, 5 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Matt Carpenter: .500 AVG, 6 AB, 0 HR, 1 RBI
– Matt Holliday: .167 AVG, 6 AB, 0 HR, 1 RBI
– Kolten Wong: .167 AVG, 6 AB, 0 HR, 0 RBI
– Jason Heyward: .000 AVG, 4 AB, 0 HR, 1 RBI
This, of course, should have been Wainwright’s spot. While there’s speculation that Carlos Villanueva may get the spot start, there are a handful of options for the Cardinals to choose from going forward.
Chad Billingsley (P): Recovering from June 2014 elbow surgery, expected back in May.
Domonic Brown (LF): Left Achilles tendinitis, could rejoin team as early as April 28.
Mario Hollands (P): Out for the Season as he recovers from 2015 Tommy John surgery.
Cliff Lee (P): Shut down with a left common flexor tendon tear, and placed on the 60-day DL.
Sean O’Sullivan (P): 15-day DL, Left knee tendinitis.
Jonathan Pettibone (P): Recovering from June 2014 right elbow surgery.
Jaime Garcia (P): Left shoulder inflammation – threw 44-pitch simulated game on
April 25, scheduled to throw a side session April 27.
Randal Grichuk (CF): 15-day DL, Lower back strain
Jason Heyward (RF): Day-to-day, Left groin tightness
Yadier Molina (C): Day-to-day, Right knee soreness
Tommy Pham (LF): 15-day DL, Left quad strain
Adam Wainwright (P) 15-day DL, Left Achilles – expected to miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
While it may not seem like the series with the most long-term implications, make no mistake — this series is an important one for the Cardinals. The “next man up” philosophy begins now.
This series preview has been written by Tara Wellman, from Bird Tales over at theCards Conclave. You can also find Tara on Twitter at @tarawellman.
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