Phillies/D-Backs Series Preview
For the second time this season, the Phillies travel to the West coast. The first trip was a success: they outscored the Padres 20-9 in a series sweep, and split a four-game series with the Dodgers — which should have been a sweep had Brad Lidge not blown back-to-back save opportunities. Overall, the Phillies will gladly take a 5-2 road trip.
This time, the Phillies are up against the Arizona Diamondbacks for three games then move to San Francisco for a four-game set with the Giants, who are six games over .500 and only two games back in the NL Wild Card.
Against the D-Backs, the Phillies will throw out three left-handed starting pitchers in Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, and NL Rookie of the Year candidate J.A. Happ. Arizona is 9-18 against left-handed starters despite hitting for a higher OPS against them.
They have a slightly above-average offense overall, but have the NL’s third-worst pitching staff. As you may expect with a staff that features Dan Haren, the bullpen has a lot more to do with the staff’s overall poor performance. Their relievers have a 4.81 ERA while starters sport a 4.13 ERA.
With Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton, the D-Backs can not only go yard, but they can swipe some bags as well. Three True Outcomes man Reynolds is tied for second in the National League with 26 home runs but has also stolen 18 bases. Upton has hit 18 homers and swiped 13. As a team, Arizona is third in the league in stolen bases and fourth in slugging percentage; the Phillies are sixth and first, respectively.
The big test in the series will come against Dan Haren. He’s second in the Majors in ERA, although FIP puts him closer to a 3.00 level of production. Only three Phillies have had double-digit plate appearances against him and only Raul Ibanez has had any success against him. The Phillies hit Jon Garland and Yusmeiro Petit in the limited opportunities they’ve had, so even if they get shut down by Haren, they should win the series anyway.
Small sample size alert with the data. Click the table to improve the quality.