Friday, April 24, 2009

Phils prepare for Florida; Ibanez vs.Burrell

The Phils are set for an NL East showdown starting tonight in Florida against the first place Marlins. Plagued by inconsistent pitching and hitting to start the season, this weekend would be a great time to right the ship and come together as a team.

The pitching staff has allowed the most home runs in baseball, and the starting pitcher in each game has allowed at least one long ball. The offense has been inconsistent, especially at the top of the lineup with the table setters not reaching base. They were five outs away from being no-hit by local product Dave Bush yesterday afternoon, until Matt Stairs spoiled it with a pinch-hit home run off the foul pole.

Raul Ibanez has been the best player on the team, proving to be a major run producer and on base machine. He is a tremendous clutch hitter as well. He's also played a solid left field all season. As much as I loved Pat Burrell, Ibanez has been an upgrade thus far; let's look at the numbers this season.

Ibanez: .345, 13 runs, 4 doubles, 5 home runs, 11 RBI, 6 walks, 7 strikeouts, 2 stolen bases.
Burrell: .265, 5 runs, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 6 RBI, 10 walks, 8 strikeouts, 0 stolen bases.

Brett Myers will be looking for a strong outing against Josh Johnson, who will also be looking to bounce back after allowing five first inning runs against the Nationals in his last start.
Chan Ho Park pitches Saturday night, needing to find his stride and turn in his first strong outing as a Phil. Chris Volstad will oppose him. Jamie Moyer, who owns the Marlins throughout his career, pitches the series finale. The Marlins have yet to name a starter for Sunday, after placing Andrew Miller on the DL. This seems to be a cheap move, as they've had days to name a starter but are likely seeking any edge they can find, making the Phillies wait as long as possible for them to name someone. Florida will just pick one of the 467 prospects they've acquired from trading away all their talent to start on Sunday.

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