The first place Phillies (33-25) are set to host the Reds (28-29, 5th National League Central) for the last four games of a so far very successful ten games home stand (5-1). The first game of the four games series will be played tonight at Citizens Bank Park, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starting pitcher will be Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 4.84), who is coming off of a win against the Rockies on May 27, where he would pitch seven and a third effective innings, giving up only two earned runs on seven scattered hits, while striking out five Rockies, in the Phils’ 7-4 victory. Lifetime against the Reds he is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two starts. He hope to continue pitching well, while trying to help the Phillies increase their lead in the East with a win. The Reds will counter with Bronson Arroyo (4-4. 5.29), who is coming off of two straight wins, his most recent being against the luckless Pirates on May 28. In that game, he would go six innings, giving up only one earned run on three hits, in the Reds’ 9-1 rout. He will be trying to help the Reds make it four wins in a row, after sweeping the Braves during the weekend, while hoping that he will be the third straight starter to cool down the Phillies’ hot bats.
During the Reds’ visit, Ken Griffey, Jr. will be aiming for his 600th career home run of his long career, planning to become the sixth man in major league history to accomplish it. The Phllies’ pitching staff will do everything that they can to keep Junior from doing it in Citizens Bank Pank. Which of the two will be more successful, Junior or the Phillies’ pitchers? We’ll know for certain by the end of Thursday night’s game.
Edit: Ken Griffey, Jr. did not play in tonight’s game because of soreness from Sunday’s afternoon game against the Braves. He should be able to play in tomorrow night’s game. .
The Phillies’ bats have cooled down a bit after their eruption on Friday night. In the last two games of the Marlins’ series, the offense would only get twelve hits, although they would score twelve runs, thanks to two key home runs in the final game of their three games series which helped put them back into first place. Of those twelve hits, five of them would be extra-base hits (2 (2B), 3 (HR)). The offense is pose for another eruption, which Reds’ pitching hope won’t come at their expense. One of the pluses of the recent outburst is that the bullpen has been well rested and should be ready for this series.
The Phils have a half game lead over the second place Marlins, who are starting a four games with the Braves, who are now tied for third place with the Mets, thanks to their being swept by the Reds in Cincinnati. The Braves, who will be hosting the Marlins for four, and the Mets are both trailing the Phillies by three and a half game. Although both teams have the same percentage point, the Mets have played two games less than the Braves, while they have at the same time lost one game less. After defeating the Dodgers for the second straight time last night, they will be going to San Francisco to start a three games series with the Giants. The Phillies will be trying to do very well in their present series so that they can increase their respective leads against each team, before they head out to Atlanta to begin a three games weekend series with the Braves.