Well, that was disappointing. A 2-4 homestand and the Phillies almost got no-hit by Dave Bush in the finale (thanks, Matt Stairs!) and their ace pitcher left the game with a left shoulder contusion. If they were trying to rival the disappointment of the trip to Washington that preceded the homestand, they valiantly came close.
Now the Phillies head to Florida to take on the division-leading 11-4 Marlins. The Fish were recently swept by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Depending on your outlook on life, that can be good or that can be bad. Regardless, the Phillies will have the privilege of facing the Marlins’ two best starting pitchers right now: Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad.
According to the stats, Johnson has been pitching well and it hasn’t been a fluke, but Volstad has been fortunate with balls in play and his FIP (4.09) is much higher than his ERA (2.76). Both of them have been throwing a lot of ground balls: 62% for JJ and 51% for Volstad.
The Marlins will have the privilege — and there’s no sarcasm this time — of facing Brett Myers, Chan Ho Park, and Jamie Moyer. Myers gave the Phillies a quality start his last time out, his first of the season, but it didn’t come without some problems. While he only allowed one home run instead of the three he had allowed in each of his previous two starts, he walked four as opposed to one in each of his previous two starts. So when he’s not giving up the long ball, he’s putting his opponents on base for free.
Raul Ibanez hasn’t seen any of the Marlins’ scheduled starters so it will be interesting to see how the veteran handles new pitching. Only three Phillies have ever faced Badenhop and it was in a one and one-third innings appearance last season. Ryan Howard was the only one to enjoy success as he smoked a three-run home run.
The aggressive Marlins have not had a whole lot of success against the soft-tossing Jamie Moyer but they have creamed Brett Myers and Chan Ho Park.
The pitchers against their opponent in their respective careers:
Despite the success of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley against Chris Volstad, he’s been able to shut the Phillies down to a tune of a 1.93 ERA. Johnson was lit up early in his last start against the Washington Nationals: he had given up six runs before he could record five outs in the game. The Phils, of course, are hoping for more of the same and for more of that 4.7 BB/9 despite that he’s only walked three batters in nearly 22 innings.
As it usually does, this series will come down to starting pitching. The Phillies still have not had a game where they have refused to allow a home run. That’s right: 14 straight games with at least one home run allowed.
An example of how bad the Phillies’ starting pitching has been: Brett Myers leads the starters in ERA at 5.03.
First Phillies starter to not allow a cookie… gets a cookie.