Here's this week's pitching probables chart. The Phillies will be facing five top-notch starters and Chris Volstad in the next six games (and even Volstad has pitched better this year than his ERA indicates). Don't be disappointed if they struggle to score runs heading into the all-star break.
The Phillies have been accustomed to enjoying tremendous starting pitching advantages all year long. This week they aren't going to have much of an advantage there at all, at least not in the aggregate. If anything, their biggest advantage will be their hitters - while they may have trouble against the Marlins' and Braves' pitchers, they've scored more runs this year than their counterparts on either of those teams.
This Friday's matchup, in particular, is worth getting excited about. You may be aware that Roy Halladay leads all qualifying major league pitchers in both xFIP and SIERA this year. (Hamels is in second place and Lee is also in the top ten.) What you may not know is that there are two non-qualifying starting pitchers whose SIERAs are better than Halladay's. One of them is Zack Greinke. The other one is Brandon Beachy. Now, obviously, it's way too early to consider Beachy to be anywhere near Halladay's level - he wouldn't be the first pitcher to put together a run like this over just 11 starts. But still, there's a chance this is the best opponent Halladay will lock horns with all year.
By the way, for whatever reason, the Phillies' lineup has been the only one that's been able to thoroughly handle Beachy throughout his short major league career. In Beachy's fourteen career starts, he's posted at least a 2/1 K/BB ratio in all but three of them: September 20, 2010 vs. the Phillies (1 K - 3 BB), April 9, 2011 vs. the Phillies (2 K - 2 BB), and May 13, 2011 vs. the Phillies (1 K - 1 BB). His ERA in those three starts? 5.84.
Other random notes:
- Nolasco has been slumping a bit recently, relative to his cumulative numbers. Meanwhile, Sanchez, Kendrick, and Beachy have been hot.
- Hamels will probably pitch twice this week because of the off day on Thursday.
- Ryan Howard is probably pretty excited about the trip to Miami. Career vs. Nolasco = .975 OPS, 3 HR in 25 AB. Career vs. Volstad = 1.988 OPS, 7 HR in 24 AB. Career vs. Sanchez = 1.140 OPS, 2 HR in 25 AB.