Phillies Preview – April 19th 2011
April 19, 2011
Posted by on
April 19th 2011 – 7:05pm
Milwaukee Brewers (8-8) Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.32 ERA)
Philadelphia Phillies (10-5) Roy Halladay (2-0, 1.23 ERA)
1-17. 1 RBI. 0 runs scored. That’s Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Ben Francisco combined stats for last night. The Phillies offense is officially in funk mode. As a team they have a .220 batting average and are scoring just over 3 runs per game during their last seven games. Despite their struggles the pitching staff has picked them up. Unfortunately the offense wasted Joe Blanton’s first solid start of the 2011 season. They had a chance to win the game in the 9th, but Shane Victorino swung at an eye-high fastball to strike out and Jimmy Rollins wasted a 3-1 pitch by popping out to shortstop. In his post game chat with the media Charlie Manuel said he was concerned about the drop off in power. Not surprisingly he mentioned missing Chase Utley, but he also dropped the names Pat Burrell and Jayson Werth. Panic mode? Nah, way too early, but the team looked like it was pressing last night and the results were not pretty. Times are changing in Philadelphia baseball. Remember when everyone said the bank was a bandbox due to all the home runs being hit there? Those days are long gone as the Phillies are relying on pitching to get them back the World Series and not the vaunted offense which Charlie Manuel has always had.
On the bright side of things Roy Halladay takes the mound tonight. He’s pretty decent, I think we’ve been through that already. He is coming off his first complete game of the season, a tough 3-2 victory over that Nats in which he threw a 123 pitches (matches his ERA so far on the season, creeeeepy). Will that high pitch count affect Doc? Obviously not the man is a machine, but it will be interesting if they monitor his pitches this early in the season. He will be opposed by former Phillies favorite Randy Wolf. Randy is coming off of a solid 6 2/3 inning, zero run, ten strikeout performance over the Pirates. He is getting up there in age, but can definitely cause issues for the struggling Phillies offense. He is very similar to last night’s starter Shaun Marcum in that he won’t beat you with a 95mph fastball, but nibbles and throws a lot of junk. That is something the Phillies have issues with.
Keys to the Game
- Better Pitch Selection. The Phillies only walked three times last night, two of which came against John Axford who couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. Shane-o swung at a pitch in the 9th that the catcher had to jump up to catch. All in all it wasn’t pretty for the Phillies offense and a lot of that has to do with swinging at terrible pitches. Wolf is going to throw a lot of junk, be careful what you swing at.
- Raul Ibanez. The Phillies are facing a lefty tonight and tomorrow so Raul will definitely be off tomorrow. I agree with Charlie giving BenFran a night off as well as he looked brutal last night. But not as brutal as Raul Ibanez. His throwing in left field was absolutely horrific. At the plate? Even worse. He has looked sluggish in all aspects of the game. I’m sure he’ll get an off day tomorrow so hopefully he can at least contribute a little tonight.
- Get Fired Up. Charlie is clearly pissed off. He loves hitting and when his guys aren’t doing it he’s not a happy man. With their ace going tonight I expect the Phillies to come out fired up, maybe even see Chuck get tossed on a close call? I’d like that.