1-2, 4.76 ERA, 1.50 WHIP
Cloyd threw seven solid innings last Saturday against the Brewers in which he allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out three Brewers. The Phillies would go on to lose 4-3 after some ninth inning drama involving second base umpire Mike Estabrook. Last Saturday was the only time he ever faced the Brewers. The Phillies are 1-3 in Cloyd's four starts.
4-6, 5.94 ERA, 1.68 WHIP
Peralta faced off against Cloyd Saturday and threw a gem for Milwaukee. He had lost his previous four starts before allowing two runs on eight hits over seven innings while striking out six Phillies. He would get his fourth win of the year. The Brewers are 5-7 in Peralta's 12 starts this season. Last Saturday was the only time he ever faced the Phillies.
Monday: v. Marlins (7:05 pm - Kendrick)
Tuesday: v. Marlins (7:05 pm - Pettibone)
Wednesday: v. Marlins (1:05 pm - Hamels)
Thursday: @ Brewers (8:10 pm - Cloyd)
Friday: @ Brewers (8:10 pm - Lee)
Saturday: @ Brewers (7:15 pm - Kendrick)
Sunday: @ Brewers (2:10 pm - Pettibone)
Marlins (3 Games)
The Marlins enter their three game set with the Phillies having won three straight games against the New York Mets. They outscored New York 24-8 in their series and it was their first sweep of the Mets in Miami since May 2004. The sweep marked the team's first sweep since June 28th - July 1st when they swept the Phillies. Prior to sweeping the Mets, the Marlins lost nine straight games. The team is having trouble offensively as they are dead last in Major League Baseball in batting average (.224), runs (160), on-base percentage (.284), and slugging percentage (.319).
Player to Watch: Marcell Ozuna - The 22-year old rookie is making the most of his time in the big leagues this season. He is coming off a strong series against the Mets in which he went 6-for-12 with two doubles, a triple, two runs scored, and five RBI. He loves Phillies pitching as he is hitting .429 (12-for-28) with his only home run of the season, five runs, and five RBI in seven games. Five of his 12 hits have been for extra bases and his OPS is a staggering 1.145 against Philadelphia.
Brewers (4 Games)
The Brewers entered their weekend series against the Phillies with the second worst record in the National League, with only the Marlins boasting to worse record. They took the first two games of the series before falling to Cliff Lee on Sunday, 7-5. The Brewers enter the week at 21-34 and 15.5 games behind the NL Central leading St. Louis Cardinals. The Brewers are in the middle of the road when it comes to batting average as they rank 13th in MLB in batting average (.258) but are struggling to score runs as their 220 runs rank 20th out of 30 teams.
Player to Watch: Jonathan Lucroy - Lucroy has put up decent numbers this year but nothing that jumps off the page. The 26 year old catcher is hitting .259 with six homeruns and 28 RBI. However, he had himself a weekend in Philadelphia. He went 8-for-13 with three homeruns, eight RBI, and five runs scored. Over the three game series, he raised his batting average from .229 to .259. In 12 career starts against the Phillies, Lucroy is 15-for-42 (.357) with four homeruns and nine RBI.
Phillies (7 Games)
The Phillies are going to go as far as Dom Brown carries them this season. Brown was profiled two weeks ago
as part of the Under the Microscope series. He continued his hot May as he belted 12 homeruns, the first Phillie to hit 12 or more homeruns in a month since Ryan Howard in his MVP year of 2006. Brown is coming off of an incredible series against the Brewers in which he went 6-for-11 with three homeruns, eight RBI, and four runs scored. He raised his batting average from .267 to .282. He enters the week with a seven game hitting streak and hits in 12 of his last 13 games.
If the Phillies are going to make a strong push for the playoffs, Brown needs to continue to be productive and Cole Hamels needs to steal some games for the team. He is 1-9 in 12 starts this year and the team is 1-11 when Hamels takes the mound. He has never lost more than 11 games in a season but is in serious jeopardy of changing that. Hamels earned the loss in all six of his May starts and posted a 4.95 ERA for the month.
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The playoffs begin today. The American League gets it kicked off with the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at 5:07pm. The New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers get the nightcap tonight at 8:37pm. Justin Verlander takes on CC Sabathia tonight in the Yanks-Tigers series. The NLDS gets under way tomorrow with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at 2:07pm and then the Philadelphia Phillies and St. Louis Cardinals follow them at 5:07pm. Should shape up for a great first round. Tristan Tschoepe got us started with his predictions earlier, here are mine.
Tampa Bay Rays (91-71) @ Texas Rangers (96-66) 5:07 pm Friday
It is no secret what happened to the Rays on Wednesday and how they got into the playoffs. After Evan Longoria’s walk off home run on Wednesday, the celebration ensued in Tampa. My question is… did the Rays already win? We saw that happen to the Phillies in 2007 when they made the playoffs and that was the main goal- not the World Series. I don’t know if this is the case for the Rays or not but it does raise some question. I think the Rays enter the playoffs with more momentum than any other team in baseball, except the Rangers. Unfortunately for them, they face the Rangers who won 14-16 down the stretch. The Rangers are one of the most balanced teams in baseball. They can hit for power (Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz), they can hit for average (Michael Young), they can steal bases (Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus), they can pitch (C.J. Wilson), and they can close out games (Neftali Feliz). The Rays have a tall task at hand and it certainly doesn’t help that they have rookie starter Matt Moore starting Game 1 opposite of Rangers ace C.J. Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA). I look for this to be a chest match but it is hard to pick against the Rangers overall balance.
Prediction: Rangers in 5
Detroit Tigers (95-67) @ New York Yankees (97-65) 8:37 pm Friday
The Yankees once again put up big numbers. Mark Teixiera and Curtis Granderson were ranked #2 and #3 in the Majors in home runs. Robinson Cano put on a display at the Home Run Derby and showed that he is as dangerous a hitter as anyone else in that lineup. Derek Jeter had another solid year hitting just a shade under .300 at .297. The Tigers also have some guys who can hit the ball too. Miguel Cabrera lead the Majors in hitting at .344 and switch hitting catch/designated hitter Victor Martinez hit a solid .330. Pitching is the big question mark for both teams this series. Game 1 features likely AL Cy Young winner and potential AL MVP candidate Justin Verlander going for the Tigers and Yankees ace CC Sabathia. If the Yankees take Game 1, I see them winning this series. If the Yankees take game one they practically force the Tigers to pitch Verlander on short rest. If the Tigers win Game 1, they take pressure off game two starter Doug Fister. The pitching matchups Verlander v. Sabathia, Fister v. Nova, and Scherzer v. Garcia. Fister has been outstanding since joining the Tigers in a midseason trade from the Mariners. They both have great closers in the bullpen. Jose Valverde was perfect in save opportunities this year and the Yankees have the ageless Mariano Rivera. Again, if the Yankees win Game 1, I think they win the series. But I don’t think the Yankees get the best of Verlander but this is going to be a great series to watch.
Prediction: Tigers in 5
Arizona Diamondbacks (94-68) @ Milwaukee Brewers (96-66) 2:07 pm Saturday
The Diamondbacks have surprised everyone this year by defeating the reigning World Series champion Giants and winning 94 games. The Diamondbacks are anchored by Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy but also have solid starters behind him in Daniel Hudson and Joe Saunders. Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton is as close to a five tool player as you get (along with Hunter Pence). The Diamondbacks can put up some runs and can pitch out of jams as well. Whatever the Diamondbacks can do, the Brewers can do better. The Brewers trot out stud pitchers in Yovani Gallardo, Zack Greinke, and Shaun Marcum. They also put up some big numbers offensively. Prince Fielder had the season of his life (ironic that it is his contract year?) and MVP candidate Ryan Braun had a 30-30 year and contended for the NL Batting Title until the last day of the season. The Brewers boasted the best home record in the Majors but were 3 games under .500 on the road. I think the Diamondbacks will put up a fight against the Brewers (especially at home) but I think, in the end, the Brewers will be too much for the Diamondbacks.
Prediction: Brewers in 4
St. Louis Cardinals (90-72) @ Philadelphia Phillies (102-60) 5:07 pm Saturday
The best team in baseball faces off against a team that needed all 162 games and some help to get into the playoffs. The Cardinals owe the Phillies their season for sweeping the Braves and allowing the Cardinals the opportunity to make it. Now they face off. The Phillies are where they were expected to be. Fifth straight division champions and they have the best record in baseball for the second straight year. The Cardinals had an up and down year but made it to the postseason regardless. The status of Cards LF Matt Holliday is uncertain with his left hand injury. St. Louis feared he would be out for the season but he was able to play through some pain against the Astros but aggravated it the other day and remains day-to-day. Albert Pujols has shown that he is pretty much the same Albert Pujols who was one of the most feared hitters in baseball. The Cardinals are sending former Phillie Kyle Lohse to start Game 1 against Roy Halladay and then Chris Carpenter will go for the Cards in Game 2 on three days’ rest against Cliff Lee. The Cardinals pitching isn’t where the Phillies staff is. The Phillies hold the edge there and the Phillies can put up some offensive numbers with the new juggled lineup that has Chase Utley batting second and Hunter Pence batting third. The Phillies are clearly the better team in this series. Prediction: Phillies in 4-Steve Dolan
With the exception of Saturday’s 9-2 outburst against Jake Westbrook and the Cardinals, the last time the Phillies scored more than three runs was September 9th against the Brewers. The final game against the Cardinals tonight was no different. The Phillies dropped the final game of the four game series 4-3 to the Cards. Roy Halladay get his sixth loss of the year while Kyle Lohse pushes his record to 14-8. Tony LaRussa micromanaged the bottom of the ninth but ended up getting the three necessary outs and Octavio Dotel earned his second save of the year. But the Phillies had to make a late inning push.
If you haven’t heard by now, there is some turmoil among some of the other teams in the National Legaue playoff hunt. The Cardinals have charged to within 4 ½ games of the Braves in the Wildcard and within 5 ½ of the Brewers for the NL Central lead. Unfortunately, it appears that they might be without slugger Matt Holliday for the rest of the season. Holliday is getting evaluated this week to see if he indeed broke his hand on Tuesday night. It doesn’t stop there. The Braves are 4-6 in their last ten and have fallen 11 games back of the Phillies in the NL East and have allowed the Cardinals to climb back into the Wildcard race. But the most surprising recent turmoil belongs to….