Monday, May 23, 2011

Phils take two of three, set for Cincy and Utley's return

Despite scoring just five runs against the Rangers over the weekend, the Phillies took two of three from Texas. Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee were tremendous in 3-2 and 2-0 wins respectively. Roy Oswalt took the tough luck 2-0 loss in the finale yesterday.

The lineup will receive quite a boost tonight as Chase Utley is expected to make his season debut, and bat third in the lineup. Domonic Brown should also make his second start of the season, with an opposing right handed pitcher taking the mound.

Cole Hamels is on the mound for the Phillies tonight, facing the Reds, who are coming off a sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians, for the first time since he ended their 2010 season with a five-hit complete game shutout in Game 3 of the NLDS. Here's a look at the match-ups:

Tonight: Bronson Arroyo (3-4 4.11) vs. Hamels (5-2 2.92)

Tuesday: Johnny Cueto (2-1 1.45) vs. Vance Worley (2-0 1.13)
Worley gets the call with Joe Blanton heading back to the DL. The Phillies loved what they've seen from Worley, and for good reason. As a starter this year, his ERA is 0.75.

Cueto didn't make his first start of the year until May 8 against the Cubs, but what a start he's off to. Picking up wins in his first two starts against the Cubs and Cardinals without allowing an earned run, Cueto lasted just five innings in his last start against the Pirates. He only allowed three runs, but he also walked three and had thrown 94 pitches. Cueto can be a little wild, but he has great stuff and can rack up the K's.

Wednesday: Travis Wood (3-3 5.17) vs. Halladay (6-3 2.21)
Wood took a perfect game into the ninth inning in Philadelphia before losing it. He also carried a no-hitter into the sixth against the Indians in his last start, but imploded after losing the no-no. He didn't retire a hitter in that sixth frame.

Halladay finally got back into the 'W' column after losing two straight despite pitching complete games in both outings. He was dominant in a 3-2 win over Texas.

Thursday: Homer Bailey (3-1 2.08) vs. Lee (3-4 3.38)
Bailey has started just four games this season but he has been terrific. He beat Houston twice in a row and the then the Cubs, allowing one, zero and three earned runs respectively. He took the loss in his last start, allowing two runs over seven innings against Cleveland. He had retired 17 of 18 batters in the seventh when Travis Buck jacked a two-run shot off Bailey.

Lee was thrilled to get his first win since April 14 when he blanked his former team on Saturday, fanning ten in the process.

Surprisingly to me at least, the Phillies optioned Pete Orr to Triple-A to make room for Utley. While Orr is not having a tremendous year, he's more valuable than Michael Martinez. Orr has a ton of speed and Major League experience. He's hitting .230 with three doubles, three RBI, five walks, ten strikeouts and a stolen base. Martinez is batting just .194 with no extra base hits, one RBI, two walks, nine strikeouts and no steals. If they'd Martinez instead of Orr, they'd have to offer him back to his former team. At this point, he doesn't seem like he can help this club too much though.

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