The Phillies are enjoying the view from first place. Having moved into first in the NL East on Tuesday after sweeping the Cardinals, the Phils have held on and try to maintain their position for a fifth straight day. Half an hour before play starts today, the pressure is on the Phils, as the Mets, half a game behind the Phils to start the day, are handily beating the Pirates through six innings at Bailout-Field.
One weakness early on for the Phils has been their performance at home. In each of the last two seasons, they've been dominant at CBP: 47-34 in 2007 and 48-33 last year. But, so far, they've been just 7-8 before the home fans. They look to even out their record this afternoon.
On the mound for the Phils is Joe Blanton and his 6.84 ERA. He shined in his last outing, Monday's start in St. Louis. He looks to pick up where Cole Hamels and Chan Ho Park left off (Moyer's Thursday outing? yeah, already forgotten), trying to turn around the dismal start to the season the starting pitching has had.
The Phillies face Javier Vazquez, who has a 4.19 ERA but is fourth in the NL in strikeouts with 50. That used to spell bad news for the Phillies, who always were near the top of the league in strikeouts. But have you noticed something this year? The team is playing very different this year, standing 15th in the NL in strikeouts, with only the Mets striking out fewer times. Add to this that Vazquez has a lifetime 7.88 ERA at CBP, and the Phils might be in for a nice offensive day.
The sun is shining. The rain has held off and looks like it's going to for a while. It's a beautiful day for the first place Phils to put more distance between themselves and the Braves.
05/09/09 3:40 PM EDT
|Atlanta Braves||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Kelly Johnson - 2B||Jimmy Rollins - SS|
|Yunel Escobar - SS||Shane Victorino - CF|
|Chipper Jones - 3B||Chase Utley - 2B|
|Garret Anderson - LF||Ryan Howard - 1B|
|Brian McCann - C||Jayson Werth - RF|
|Casey Kotchman - 1B||Raul Ibanez - LF|
|Jeff Francoeur - RF||Greg Dobbs - 3B|
|Jordan Schafer - CF||Chris Coste - C|
|Javier Vazquez - P||Joe Blanton - P|