Due to work, I’m realizing that doing a Phillies preview for each game is damn near impossible. I mean I’ll quit my day job if our twenty (generous number) readers decide to pay me a solid salary, but instead of the daily updates I’ve decided to start doing series previews/reviews. Probably makes a lot of you happy knowing that you don’t need to read a daily recap of me bitching about the Phillies. However if you really, really, really need a daily preview out of me? I think the Phillies will win every game, there ya go. Anyway the next series for the best National League team is against the defending National League Central champions, the Cincinnati Reds.
Monday: May 23rd 2011 – 7:05pm
Bronson Arroyo (3-4, 4.11 ERA)
Cole Hamels (5-2, 2.92 ERA)
Tuesday: May 24th 2011 – 7:05pm
Johnny Cueto (2-1, 1.45 ERA)
Vance Worley (2-0, 1.13 ERA)
Wednesday: May 25th 2011 – 7:05pm
Travis Wood (3-3, 5.17 ERA)
Roy Halladay (6-3, 2.21 ERA)
Thursday: May 26th 2011 – 1:05pm
Homer Bailey (3-1, 2.08 ERA)
Cliff Lee (3-4, 3.38 ERA)
CHASE FUCKING UTLEY! Those three words are all that matter for this series. Gone are the Wilson Valdez, Pete Orr, Michael Martinez, Luis Castillo (remember him?!?!?) contingent whom attempted, and failed miserably to play second base in Utley’s absence. When Chuck fills out the lineup card for game one of this series he’ll get to pencil in Chase Utley’s name for the first time all season. Sure he’s going to bring his .293 career batting average, 177 career home runs and incredible good looks back to the lineup, but most importantly he’ll hopefully give a spark to the struggling Phillies offense. He’s an aggressive, balls to the wall kind of player and that’s why Philadelphia loves him so much, his effort and drive is never in question. In spring training there was a serious chance he’d need surgery and would miss the entire season. Instead, Chaseosaurus rehabbed his heart out and is now playing in a game before June 1st, which is impressive as hell. So welcome back Chase Utley, in the words of the greatest announcer ever, you are the man.
Andddd enough with the gay I missed you/love you so much Chase comments. Charlie Manuel had an interesting comment about his offense following their lackluster effort in the series finale against the Texas Rangers, “uhhh well We’re uhhhum gonna bottom out one of these umm uh days. So umm uh umm I hope that uh that day was uh today”. I may have missed a couple umm’s in there, but Chuck is hoping that this game/series will be a turning point in the season. Sure they won 2/3 games against the Rangers, but scoring five runs in a three game series isn’t going to get the job done. Manuel is clearly saying that he hopes the return of Chase also marks the return of the Phillies offense.
Game 2 starter Travis Wood was perfect for 8 innings against Philly last June
The Cincinnati Reds are about where I expected them to be at this point of the season. Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips are off to great offensive starts, the rest of the lineup? Yikes. Johnny Gomes is hitting just .171, the Paul Janish/Edgar Renteria shortstop combo is horrendous (but you can’t expect much out of them I guess) and Scott Rolen has been injured often and when healthy has not had a very powerful swing. The Reds starters whom the Phillies will face in this series have gotten off to a solid start. Homer Bailey may finally have started to perform at his expected potential and Travis Wood nearly threw a perfect game last season against the Phillies. Mix in a solid bullpen lead by Francisco Cordero (1.86 ERA/ 8-9 in saves opportunities) Bill Bray (solid lefty specialist, 1.69 ERA so far this season) Logan Ondrusek (22K – 3BB in 24.2inn) and it’s not a surprise to once again see this team near the top of the NL Central.
Things To Watch
- Dominic Brown. Everyone was up in arms after he was benched Sunday against the Rangers, but it made sense since the Phillies were facing a tough left hander in Matt Harrison. Expect Dom to get a lot of at-bats in this series with three right-handed pitchers starting for the Reds.
- Roy Halladay. Last time he faced the Reds in Citizens Bank Park was game 1 of NLDS. I was at the game sitting down the right field line, in the freezing cold and constant rain. Well it was goddamn worth it to sit through the rain, I got to see Roy Halladay throw a no-hitter in his playoff debut. It was insane, unimaginable, and downright awesome. I’m sure the Reds hitters haven’t forgotten this and will be amped up to get some revenge against Doc.
- Chase. Obviously everyone is excited that he’s back. He’s an all-star player and it’s been difficult to watch his replacements ground into double plays and just all around completely suck for the first few months of the season. However the Phillies will be sure to bring back their superstar slowly. It will be interesting to see how many games Utley plays and how his knee responds if he plays a couple of nights in a row. And now way to many videos that show why he is the man.
*Jayson Werth reaction still makes me chuckle.
*One more time – He’s back.