Monday, June 20, 2011

Vargas blanks Phils who drop series in Seattle

The Phillies dropped two of three in Seattle over the weekend. The Mariners took the series yesterday behind a dominant performance from Jason Vargas who threw a three-hit complete game shutout. The Phillies really never threatened Vargas, who struck out six and walk two in the 2-0 victory.

Cole Hamels was the tough luck loser, matching zeros on the scoreboard with Vargas until the sixth. Hamels lasted 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits, no walks and six strikeouts.

Oddly enough, the least favorable pitching match-up for the Phillies; Saturday's contest of Felix Hernandez vs. Vance Worley, turned out to be the only game the Phillies won in the series.

The Phillies are still holding a comfortable five game lead over the second place Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

They have the night off before opening a three-game set in St. Louis against the Cardinals tomorrow. Here's a look at the probables:

Tuesday: Roy Halladay (9-3 2.56) vs. Kyle McClellan (6-3 3.96)
Halladay is coming off an outing against the Marlins in which he allowed four earned runs, which is tied for the most he's allowed in a game this season. He'll take his second shot at win number ten tomorrow, after picking up a no decision in the Florida outing which snapped a three-game win streak.

This is McClellan's second start back from the disabled list. He took the loss on June 15 against Washington, allowing five runs (three earned) in five innings. McClellan started the season 4-0 with a 3.23 ERA in April, but fell off to 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA in May before being placed on the shelf.

Wednesday: Cliff Lee (7-5 3.12) vs. Kyle Lohse (7-3 2.88)
Lee has been dominant of late. He's 3-0 in June, with a 0.38 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 24 innings pitched. He pitched a dominant two-hit complete game shutout against the Marlins in his last outing.

Lohse started the season on a terrific note, going 4-1 with a 1.64 ERA in April and 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA in May. However, in June, Lohse is 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA. He's allowed four earned runs in each of his last three starts, and has served up five home runs over that span after allowing just three in the first two months of the season.

Thursday: Roy Oswalt (4-5 3.38) vs. Chris Carpenter (1-7 4.47)
Oswalt has struggled since his return from the DL, going 1-4. He's received terrible run support, but has also allowed an unusually high number of base runners. He's 1-3 in June with a 4.81 ERA.

Carpenter usually form's one of the games most dynamic one-two punches with Adam Wainwright at the top of the St. Louis rotation. But Wainwright is out for the year, and Carpenter is having his worst year since 2002 thus far. In May, he was 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA. In June, he's gone 0-2 with a 4.30 ERA. In his last two starts, he's allowed ten runs (nine earned). Carpenter is certainly the type of pitcher capable of turning around his season at any point. The Phillies are hoping it happens after they depart St. Louis.

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