On That Raul vs. Blogger Ordeal…

If you haven’t heard about Angry Raul, click here to get caught up. Here’s the tl;dr version:

  • Blogger says it’s possible that Raul Ibanez could be using steroids, despite the lack of any positive drug tests.
  • Mainstream media picks up on blogger’s article, publicize and rip it.
  • Raul Ibanez hears about blogger’s article, gets angry at accusations.

Unfortunately, just about everyone is responding in an emotional manner and not really taking the whole scenario into account. Nothing the blogger said was accusatory. Had he flat-out stated, “Raul is on steroids” or something like that, it’s a different story. But he said it’s a possibility, like saying there’s a possibility it might rain tonight. You’re sticking your head in the sand if you don’t think there’s even a remote possibility any athlete is on performance-enhancing drugs.

Throughout my response here, I’ll try to refrain from pushing my own agenda with regard to the steroid issue.

First, as I mentioned, the blogger didn’t say anything accusatory. Check the article out yourself, but I’ll quote some snippets as examples:

  • In fact, the 37-year old Ibanez has been so good that it has led to the inevitable speculation that his improvement may be attributable to factors other than his new lineup, playing in a better ballpark for hitters, or additional maturation as a hitter. In this day and age of suspicion at any significant jump in numbers, even over small sample sizes, it is what it is – and such speculation is to be expected.

Not accusatory in the least. You hear this — “the speculation is inevitable in this era” — almost ad nauseam on ESPN when they have their pseudo-intellectual debates between such noted scholars as Skip Bayless, Jemele Hill, Woody Paige, and Jay Mariotti. It’s okay when the MSM does it, but not a friggin’ blogger. No, not those nerds who live with mom and don’t wear pants and have level 80 World of Warcraft characters and wore a Jedi suit to prom.

Shortly after the above quote, the blogger in question quotes a member of his fantasy baseball league who thinks Ibanez is on something. If quoting someone’s opinion is being accusatory then he’s guilty as charged. However, look at it this way: during the O.J. Simpson trial, how many of us said out loud in public that we thought he was guilty without question? Did we deserve punishment for having such opinions? Did the MSM deserve punishment when they did their “this is what the populace thinks” pieces? If not, then why does this blogger?

Next snippet:

  • […] any aging hitter who puts up numbers this much better than his career averages is going to immediately generate suspicion that the numbers are not natural, that perhaps he is under the influence of some sort of performance enhancer. And since I was not able to draw any absolute parallels between his prodigously improved HR rate and his new ballpark’s hitter-friendliness, it would be foolish to dismiss the possibility that “other” performance enhancers could be part of the equation.

In science, you never eliminate any possible explanations unless you can prove them wrong repeatedly. What the blogger is practicing here is good science. He stated his hypothesis, did his research, and came to a conclusion that he had no conclusion and that the many possible explanations are all still valid as far as he can see. There is nothing wrong with that.

He did not say, “Raul is on the ‘roids.” He essentially said, “Based on the evidence at hand, I cannot rule out the possibility that he is not on ‘roids.”

  • Sorry Raul Ibanez and Major League Baseball, that’s just the era that we are in — testing or no testing.

Again, not accusatory; just matter-of-factly-speaking. How many players have drawn suspicion of steroid use just this year alone?

  • Personally, I am withholding judgment until we see a full seasons’ worth of stats.

I think the MSM and Ibanez missed this quote when they were tearing the blogger to pieces. In fact, throughout the article, he makes clear what he really thinks about Ibanez: small sample size, he’ll decline as the season progresses, etc. So accusing the blogger of something he did not do is exactly what the MSM is berating him for doing. That’s known as hypocrisy.

  • And maybe that training included…Well, you know where that one was going, but I’d prefer to leave it as unstated speculation. However, if Ibanez ends up hitting 45-50 homers this year, you can bet that I won’t be the only one raising the question.

Asking questions is never a bad thing. It’s what intelligent people do. The even more intelligent people ask questions and then attempt to answer them.

John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer set up a nice strawman in his article about the issue:

  • Then JRod dismissed all the evidence of opportunism, pivoted like a second baseman turning a double play, and fired his conclusion into the mitts of conspiracy theorists and amateur drug testers everywhere […]

Where did this happen? I saw no signs of any pivoting.

If Woody Paige said this on ESPN’s Around the Horn, nobody would have batted an eyebrow. Somehow, a blogger does it, and he’s betraying law and ethics; he’s liable to be sued; he represents everything that’s wrong with blogging, etc.

What this is, really, is the MSM seeing a door slightly ajar and busting it wide open — one of few opportunities they have ever had to really criticize bloggers for what they do (and oftentimes do better than their paid counterparts). This is the mainstream media fighting over territory it’s already lost and will continue to lose. It is not about wrongfully accusing Ibanez of any wrongdoing.

The blogger has written a response to the fury that has come about as a result of his article, check it out if you have a minute. He apologized and accepted partial blame, something I commend him for doing even though I feel he did absolutely nothing wrong.

Phils Smoke Santana, Lose Anyway

Johan SantanaDespite hitting four home runs off of one of the best pitchers in baseball, the Phillies dropped the first game in New York to the Mets, 6-5. Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez hit back-to-back solo homers off of Johan Santana in the fourth; Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run shot in the fifth; and Chase Utley hit a solo home run to lead off the eighth inning and chase Santana out of the game.

Unfortunately, the Mets’ bullpen — strange as this is to hear — was dominant and kept the Phillies from tying the game in the eighth and ninth innings. Bobby Parnell gave up a single up the middle to Jayson Werth, the first batter sans-Santana. Manager Jerry Manuel wasn’t taking any chances, and brought in left-hander Pedro Feliciano to face Howard and Ibanez. Howard swung at Feliciano’s first pitch and promptly hit into a double play. Raul Ibanez followed suit and weakly grounded out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Jimmy Rollins led off the inning with a single to right field off of closer Francisco Rodriguez, but that was all the Phillies could muster. K-Rod struck out Pedro Feliz and Greg Dobbs to earn his 16th save in as many opportunities.

The Phillies’ lead in the NL East shrunk to two games with their loss tonight. The third-place Braves and fourth-place Marlins also won, meaning that first and fourth place are only separated by six games.

J.A. Happ didn’t have a particularly great outing, but he pitched well enough to keep the Phillies in the game. Like Santana, Happ was also homer-prone, allowing a solo to David Wright in the second and a two-run round-tripper to Carlos Beltran in the third. Relievers Clay Condrey and Chad Durbin didn’t help matters much, as Condrey allowed the Mets to tie and then regain the lead, and Durbin gave up an insurance run in the form of a Ryan Church solo home run to dead center field that gave the Mets a 6-4 lead.

Cole Hamels will face Mike Pelfrey tomorrow night as the Phillies look to even the series. Jamie Moyer will take on the notorious Tim Redding in what the Phils hope will be a rubber match.

. . .

It’s been a while, but I finally have a couple more items to add to the “NL East Whining” category. First is an obvious one: Johan Santana’s bickering with manager Jerry Manuel when he was taken out of the game in the top of the eighth inning after surrendering a solo home run to Chase Utley that cut the Mets’ lead to 6-5. It looked like Santana said, “My ball,” which indicates that he was frustrated about coming out of the game.

After surrendering five runs on four hard-hit home runs, no matter who you are, it should never be surprising when you get the hook.

The next item comes via Baseball Think Factory via the New York Post:

[Chipper] Jones ripped the Mets’ new park in a recent radio interview, blasting the decision to make it play so big.

“It is the biggest park that I have ever played in in my life,” Jones told the show “Ripken Baseball” on Sirius XM Radio. “It is a huge ballpark to center and right center and right field. You know, I actually feel sort of sorry for some of the guys out there because their power numbers are really going to take a hit; guys like David Wright David Wright , [Carlos] Beltran, [Carlos] Delgado. The days of them hitting 35, 40 homers — they’re over.”

Jones also recalled a telling moment from his first visit to Citi Field last month, when the Braves took two of three from the home team.

“I juiced the ball just right of center field as hard as the good Lord can let me hit a ball, and it hit midways up the center-field wall for a double,” he said. “And every time there was a long fly out or a double that hit off the wall or something, David Wright would run by me and go, ‘Nice park.’

Whining from a member of the Atlanta Braves is really nothing new. Maybe whenever a team is thinking about building a new stadium, they should have the contractor meet up with Chipper Jones first so the park meets his high standards.

Despite the reputation, Citi Field actually has played rather neutral so far this season. However, it does rank 22nd in the Majors in ESPN’s Park Factor using runs. Yet, not even counting the seven homers hit tonight, it ranked eighth in Park Factor using home runs. Citizens Bank Park, which has a reputation as being a bandbox, is 15th in runs and 13th in home runs.

Brad Lidge Sent to DL; Paul Bako Called Up

Paul BakoPaul Bako? What? Really? Paul Bako?

Apparently, that is not a typo. Brad Lidge has been put on the disabled list — finally — and catcher Paul Bako has been called up. What this means is that Chris Coste will not be catching that much if at all. Instead, Coste will be used as a right-handed pinch-hitter.

Bako had a .753 OPS in 43 at-bats (10 games) with the AA Reading Phillies. He had 15 hits of which only one went for extra bases. Defensively, Bako has had decent numbers in his career throwing out base runners. Last year, he threw out runners at a clip approaching 27%. Coste was at 15.4% last year and Ruiz 17.7%.

In his 12-year career, Bako has played for the Tigers, Astros, Braves, Brewers, Cubs, Dodgers, Royals, Orioles, and Reds. The Phillies would be his tenth team.

Talkin’ Mets with Steve Keane

You may remember Steve from my two appearances on Pro Baseball Central, where Keane and Joe McDonald host a funny and informative New York-centered program. With the Phillies in New York, I figured I’d draw on Keane’s expertise to get a good look at what to expect in the series. Aside from his work on Pro Baseball Central, Keane also runs The Eddie Kranepool Society blog where you can find him telling David Wright to STFU and advising the Mets’ brass to blow the team up.

I like the sound of that. I also liked Steve’s answers to my ridiculous questions. My questions in bold, his answers follow in regular typeface.

. . .

1. What ailments aren’t affecting the 25-man roster at the moment? Get out that medical dictionary! Seriously, what’s up with the pestilence in Queens?

Well, it’s a combination of bad luck and incompetence by the medical and training staff and an ownership that holds no one accountable for these misdiagnosis and poor rehab practices. Jose Reyes went from tendonitis to a torn hammy? Incredible.  Same with Oliver Perez when he signed his contract did this knee problem show up on his physical or did it happen during the WBC? Ryan Church pulling muscles? Some injuries you can’t help. Carlos Delgado bad hip is from wear and tear (or maybe as the conspiracy theorist think strange substance to help his performance) or Alex Cora tearing ligaments in his thumb or third string shortstop Ramon Martinez breaking a finger sliding into home. So bad luck is involved here too.

2. Daniel Murphy: I told you so — his production last year was way over his capabilities. Do Mets fans still think he’s going to be the next Don Mattingly, or have expectations fallen back to reality?

I disagree with you on Murphy. First it’s no secret he had a problem playing left field although last season when he played out there he wasn’t that bad. As for his hitting, he let his defense effect his offense but now that he has been at first base, where he has been above average on D, his bat should come around. He won’t hit a lot of HR’s but he still looks like a very good gap hitter and is an excellent base runner. I know you love to crunch numbers and I am not an anti-saber guy (hell, I’ve been a member of SABR since 1984) but sometime when you see a guy with strong baseball instinct like Murphy you stay longer with him. If Jerry Manuel would just leave Murphy at first base everyday he’ll produce.

3. Omir Santos: the 2009 version of Endy Chavez, circa 2007 — the poorly-producing, but seems-to-but-doesn’t-really-get-that-clutch-hit-all-the-freaking-time player who had low expectations going into the season? GM Omar Minaya seems to think very highly of him since he traded the Mets’ best catcher to the White Sox for Lance Broadway recently.

Again I take issue with you on Santos. Santos is huge upgrade over the highly overrated Brian Schieneder. I would think a guy whose team has Chris Coste on it would appreciate Omir Santos. As for Lance Broadway, at least Omar got a warm body for Shrek.

4. Have you been to Citi Field? If so, what were your impressions? If not, what have been your thoughts on the park from what you’ve seen on TV? And where does it rank among MLB stadiums in your estimation?

Yes I’ve been to $iti Field a few times and each time I get more comfortable with the park. I’ve been going to Shea Stadium from the first season it opened and could find my way around there blindfolded. So as I get use to $iti Field my biggest gripe as most fans is the lack of a Mets-ecentic feel. Even though I’m a born and raised Brooklyinte like Fred Wilpon even I think it’s too much Brooklyn Dodger overload.   It’s not Fenway or Wrigley Field but it’s on par with CBP. I like Camden Yards better because you have a places around the park to go to before the game. It makes for a better atmosphere. Unless you have a dent in your bumper or a flat tire the area around Citi Field needs a huge overhaul

5. What are the Mets looking for as the trading deadline approaches? Which Minor Leaguers could we see the Mets part with to try and improve the team for a run at the NL East crown?

I’d love to have the Mets add a starting pitcher and a corner outfielder with a power bat but I don’t want to trade my top prospects to do it. The problem is ownership will not take on a big salary so Omar needs to be creative. The Mets just promoted RHP Bradley Holt to AA Binghamton if he shows the same production he did at St. Lucie he could make the jump to the big leagues after the All Star break. Also Billy Wagner could be back by August or early September and he needs to show he’s healthy to get a contract some place next year so watch for that plus Delgado could be back by August as well so if the Mets can keep their heads above water, September could be interesting hopefully in a positive way this time for us.

BONUS: The match-ups will be Happ-Santana, Hamels-Pelfrey, and Moyer-Redding. How do you see the series panning out?

After Carlos Beltran calling out his team for embarrassing themselves in Pittsburgh maybe a showdown with the Phillies is just what this team needs to kick itself in gear. The Happ-Santana match up which would have been a slam dunk in the Mets favor, changes a bit now that Happ has pitched very well his last three time out. Hopefully in game two Big Pelf puts his last start in the rear view mirror and gets back on track. As for the third game, if Tim Redding gets anywhere near the pitchers mound at Citi Field I will go get a restraining order to prevent it. That start is John Maine’s unless Tom Seaver comes out of retirement then it goes to The Franchise. The big plus for the Mets is the games are at home.

. . .

Props to Keane for taking time out of his busy schedule to shed some light on the upcoming series. That New York moxie really did shine through in the answers. I’d still throw D-batteries at him, though.

Make sure you check out my Phillies-Mets series preview. Wouldn’t want to go into the series without an overbearing hatred for Tim Redding now, right?

Phillies/Mets Series Preview II

After a tough West coast road trip in which the Phillies won five of seven, they come East to finish up the trip in New York. The Phils have dropped three of four to the Mets so far this season, splitting a rain-shortened series at the start of May, then dropped two more May 6-7. The Mets have outscored the Phillies 20-15 in the four games.

The Phillies get to face Johan Santana who is, as usual, having a great season. However, after allowing a total of only four earned runs in his first seven starts, he’s allowed 12 over his last four.

Santana will be opposed by J.A. Happ, one of two surprisingly-effective left-handers the Phillies have introduced into the starting rotation in the last couple weeks (the other being Antonio Bastardo). In 40 innings of work, Happ has a 2.48 ERA. He made his first start of the season in Yankee Stadium and dominated a potent Yankee lineup, allowing only two runs in six innings. He threw seven shut-out innings against the Padres his last time out in San Diego. The Happ-Santana duel should be an interesting one for sure.

Pelfrey and Hamels will duke it out in game two of the series. After seven straight quality starts from April 25 to May 29, Pelfrey surrendered eight earned runs to the Pittsburgh Pirates en route to a series sweep by the Bucs. Meanwhile, Cole Hamels is coming off of a phenomenal outing against the Dodgers — a complete-game, 95-pitch shut-out of the National League’s second-best offense. This is a match-up of two starters headed in opposite directions.

Game three will feature Phillie-killer Tim Redding against Jamie Moyer. Redding, as you will see in the tables that follow, has a career 3.29 ERA against the Phillies in nearly 66 innings of work. His career ERA is 4.98. Just call him Cy Redding when he’s facing the Phils. Moyer, who had an ERA of 8.15 in his first seven starts, has a 3.60 ERA over his last four during a spurt of overall outstanding Phillies starting pitching.

The Mets have had to deal with a lot of injuries so far this season. Jose Reyes, Carlos Delgado, and J.J. Putz are some notables that have spent some time riding the pine. Even Carlos Beltran and John Maine had a swine flu scare. They’re fortunate that the Phillies haven’t been able to put it together for any extended period of time and as such only find themselves three games behind in the NL East.

David Wright and Carlos Beltran, offensively, have been smoking hot. Wright had a .763 OPS on April 29. By May 20, it was at 1.004 and was still high at .933 going into today’s game with the Nationals in which he went 2-for-3 with a double and two walks. Beltran, meanwhile, was hitting .400 as late as May 5. He’s still hitting .342.

Aside of Wright and Beltran, however, no healthy player on the roster is hitting that well. Carlos Delgado was hitting, but hasn’t played since May 10. Gary Sheffield was hot for about a week, but now has one hit in his last 17 plate appearances.

The Mets bullpen has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde. Some relievers have been outstanding, such as Francisco Rodriguez and Bobby Parnell. Others have been pedestrian: J.J. Putz and Sean Green to name a couple. Of relievers who have pitched at least ten innings, four of eight have a WHIP of 1.5 or higher. Overall, however, the bullpen has been great with a combined WXRL of over four.

To the charts! (I have no idea why they are blurry.)

Hitting:

Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Mets, June 8-10

Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Mets, June 8-10

Pitching:

Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Mets, June 8-10

Philadelphia Phillies @ New York Mets, June 8-10

Stay tuned for a series preview-interview with Steve Keane of The Eddie Kranepool Society and Pro Baseball Central. (Link)

BDD: What’s Wrong with Jimmy?

At Baseball Daily Digest, I analyze what’s wrong with Jimmy Rollins and theorize what can be done to minimize the damage inflicted by his poor performances.

He went from about 2 runs below average against the fastball last year to nearly 9.5 runs below average. He’s also performed noticeably worse against sliders and change-ups.

The big change, at least so far, is Rollins’ BABIP, which is currently .234 compared to his career average of .297. Now, it’s way too early to use BABIP and feel comfortable about it, but I ran a few numbers to see if Rollins’ BABIP is statistically significant anyway. At a 95% level of confidence, we’d expect his BABIP to be between .281 and .313. As it stands, his current BABIP is more than two and a half standard deviations below the mean. Again, with the sample size warning in mind, there seem to be other causes for his lack of success on balls in play other than bad luck.

Update: Charlie Manuel must have read my article. I kid, I kid. Rollins was dropped in the lineup for tonight’s game against the Dodgers, however:

  • Victorino
  • Utley
  • Werth
  • Howard
  • Ibanez
  • Rollins
  • Feliz
  • Ruiz
  • Bastardo

Can Madson Close, Please?

Ryan MadsonBrad Lidge blew his second straight opportunity in a row and sixth of the season in 19 opportunities. After saving five in a row, including three against the 14-39 Nationals and one against the Padres’ 29th-best offense in the Majors, everyone thought he was healed, but he’s continued to pitch terribly as the season has progressed. His 7.20 ERA heading into the game was scary, and his 5.90 FIP doesn’t make you feel any better.

Nearly a month ago, I suggested putting Lidge on the 15-day disabled list and transitioning Madson into the closer’s role. Two weeks ago, I made the same suggestion. Today, I’m stating it again: Let Madson close. There’s no reason not to make the move.

The Phillies were lucky to be 11 games above .500 going into today’s game with the Dodgers, considering that 10 of their 32 wins are against the absolutely terrible Nationals team. Without the Nats, the Phils would be 22-19. The schedule doesn’t get any easier as the Phillies are scheduled to play the Mets, Red Sox, and Blue Jays in the next two weeks.

They can’t afford to give away games to good teams the way they did last night to the Dodgers. Even if they’re supposedly playing with house money, they can’t afford it. It’s time to take this season seriously and demote Lidge out of the closer’s role and promote Madson.

Update: The Phillies lose in twelve innings on an Andre Ethier walk-off hit for the second-straight night. This time it was a home run off of Chad Durbin. That’s three more innings the bullpen shouldn’t have had to pitch thanks to Lidge.

Prequel to the Sequel

In the Phillies 2009 preview I wrote at Baseball Daily Digest (if you decide to re- read it, have a good laugh at the Ibanez part), I cited “Prequel to the Sequel” by Between the Buried and Me as the Phils’ “team song”. With the Phils back in Los Angeles, where they clinched their first World Series berth since 1993, I thought it was appropriate to bring it up again.

If you don’t like progressive metal, you probably won’t like the song, but you have to admit that the title is apropos. I am officially branding it the Phillies’ theme song for 2009. That’s right, I have that power (no I don’t).

King Cole Tosses Gem Against NL’s Best Team

The NL’s second-best offense was shut down by Cole Hamels, who threw nine innings of shut-out baseball. He walked none, allowed only five hits, and struck out five. It’s Cole’s — and the Phillies’ — first shut-out of the season and the first since Brett Myers beat the Washington Nationals on August 20 of last season. Cole had two shut-outs last season in a span of about three weeks against the Braves and Reds.

Cole HamelsThe Phils increased their winning streak to seven games and the starting pitching as of late has been immaculate. It took a while, but it seems like the Phillies are finally getting to the point where they’re not relying on late-game grand slams the way they were in April and early May.

According to the Pitch F/X data, of his 95 pitches (in nine innings!), 65 were fastballs, 22 were change-ups, 6 were curve balls, and 2 were sliders. Those sliders, by the way, have to be mislabeled change-ups because Cole does not throw a slider. Seems like that’s the case by looking at the charts at Brooks Baseball.

Here’s some trivia for you: Since 2000, there have been 41 complete nine-inning game shut-outs in which the starter threw 95 or less pitches. Cole’s performance is #42. In that time frame, there have been 331 total CG-SHO’s, meaning that 87% of them saw 96 or more pitches in the outing. Interesting.

With the win tonight and the Mets’ loss (and series sweep) at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Phillies increased their lead in the NL East to four games. Tomorrow night, Jamie Moyer will try to make it eight in a row for the Phightins as he takes on Eric Milton in another battle of the southpaws.

Phillies/Dodgers Series Preview II

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:

Phillies' starters, last four games

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.

Hitting:

Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers, June 4-7

Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers, June 4-7

Pitching:

Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers, June 4-7

Philadelphia Phillies @ Los Angeles Dodgers, June 4-7

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.