Despite the loss yesterday, the Phillies still maintain a six game lead in the NL East thanks to a 3-1 Pirates win over the Braves last night in Atlanta. The Phillies are entering the fifth game of a ten game home stand. The Giants are trotting out their top three pitchers and are lucky enough to avoid Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Unfortunately, tomorrow they face one of the top left handers in baseball this year with Cole Hamels taking the mound for the Phils.
Tuesday 7:05: RHP Vance Worley (6-1, 2.02 ERA) vs. RHP Tim Lincecum (8-8, 2.90 ERA)
Wednesday 7:05: LHP Cole Hamels (12-5, 2.62 ERA) vs. LHP Barry Zito (3-2, 4.78 ERA)
Thursday 7:05: RHP Kyle Kendrick (5-4, 3.45 ERA) vs. RHP Matt Cain (8-6, 3.06 ERA)
The Phillies are clearly going to be buyers approaching the July 31st Non-Waiver trade deadline. It is also clear that the Phillies need a right handed outfield bat and relief pitching. The Phillies have been rumored to be interested in the Astros’ All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence. Pence, 28, is hitting .308 with 11 homeruns and 62 RBIs. In addition to what he does at the plate, Pence also has seven stolen bases and has an absolute cannon for an arm in right field. Pence is under contract for the rest of this year and all of next year. He has hit 25 homeruns in each of the last three seasons. He would be a nice addition to the team but, chances are good, that it would cost the Phillies Dom Brown, Vance Worley, Jonathan Singleton, Jared Cosart, Trevor May, or any combination of the above to pry Pence from Houston where he has developed into the face of the franchise.
More recently the Phillies have emerged as favorites, along with the Texas Rangers, to land San Diego Padres’ closer, Heath Bell. Bell, 33, has 29 saves this season and put up 47 last year and 42 in 2009. He is likely to cost one of the afore mentioned prospects and is not under contract for next season. New York Post columnist Joel Sherman reports that the Phillies are “Aggressive on Bell” as well as fellow Padres reliever Mike Adams. Adams, 32, will likely cost less than Bell.
Another name that has been thrown around is Jason Giambi of the Colorado Rockies. Giambi, 40, who blasted three homeruns in one game against the Phillies in May could be another bat off the bench. According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, "Philadelphia is the favorite to get him." Let's not try to get ahead of ourselves but Renck makes the claim that Giambi could be the 2011 Phillies' version of Matt Stairs. Those are big shoes to fill. Keep checking back with Whiz Wit as we have up to the minute coverage of any deal that goes down.