The last week has been pretty sweet. Six wins in a row including two sweeps of the Nationals at home and the Padres on the road, thanks to some great starting pitching:
No Brett Myers? No Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, or Jake Peavy? No problem!
The bullpen was great as well, if you ignore Chan Ho Park’s disastrous appearance. Park aside, the bullpen allowed one run in six innings of work.
The Phillies will board the bus and head to the city of angels for a four-game set with the Dodgers. Fortunately, they get to avoid Chad Billingsley, who has pitched well against the Phillies outside of the post-season. Even more fortunate is that the Phillies, after completing this series, will have played their last game against the Dodgers for the season, meaning that they did not have to face Manny Ramirez once. Compare that to last season, when they not only had to face him eight times when he joined the Dodgers, but earlier in the season in inter-league play when he was with Boston. That’s eleven games in one season facing one of the greatest right-handed hitters in baseball history, and he A) didn’t play in the same league for half the season, and B) when he did, he wasn’t even in the same division.
With that rant out of the way, the Phillies’ offense was not slowed by the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park. They scored 20 runs in the three games against the Padres, an average of over six runs per game. Dodger Stadium isn’t as hard to hit in as Petco, but it’s still advantageous to hurlers with a one-year hitting park factor of 95 compared to Petco’s 88 (under 100 favors pitchers).
Three of the four starters the Dodgers will send to the hill are southpaws, which means that the Phillies’ lefty-heavy lineup will have its work cut out for them. Phillies hitters have hit for an .834 OPS against right-handed pitchers, and .793 against lefties. The league average is .741 against RHP and .752 against LHP, so the Phillies are no slouches against southpaws.
Let’s get to some match-ups for another rematch of last year’s NLCS.
After having demanded a sweep of the Nationals, and feeling fortunate to sweep the Padres who threw a less-than-100% Jake Peavy on the hill, splitting the four-game set with the Dodgers wouldn’t be bad.
Hiroki Kuroda is coming off of an injury, and had a decent outing in his return on June 1. He threw five innings and allowed just two runs on three hits and three walks, and struck out six. Despite the handedness, Phillies hitters have performed well against Kershaw, Milton, and Wolf, so the good times could keep on rolling as the Phillies make their way to New York to end their ten-game road trip.