The Phillies (50-43) will conclude their ten games home stand with a three games series against the Diamondbacks (46-46, 1st National League West) that begins tonight at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (8-3, 4.39), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on July 6, as he pitched six innings, giving up only one earned run on eight scattered hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 lost. He’ll be trying once again for his ninth win of the season, and for his fourth straight quality start, while hoping to be able to throw another quality start against the D-backs as he did back on May 7, where he went six innings, giving up only three earned runs on ten hits as he received a no-decision, in the Phillies’ 5-4 win. The D-backs will counter with Doug Davis (3-4, 3.74), who is coming off a lost against the Padres on July 5, where he went eight innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Diamonbacks’ 4-2 lost. Lifetime against the Phillies he is 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA in six starts. He will be trying to even his record, while trying to keep the D-backs in first place in the weak Western Division.
The Phillies’ offense is still trying to regain its strength while starting pitching has been pitching rather well during the last several games in spite of getting almost no help from the offense. During this time, Ryan Howard’s bat seem to have come alive, as he has hit safely in his last thirteen games, and in the last ten, he has gone 15 for 40 for a .375 average, getting in that span seven extra-base hits, all of them home runs, and knocking in fifteen RBIs, as he has taken the National League lead in both home runs (27) and RBIs (83). Howard is presently riding on a hot bat, as he has raised his batting average to .234. The Phillies will be looking towards riding on his hot bat for a while. Another hot bat is Pat Burrell, who, during the same ten games span, has gone 12 for 35 for a .343 average, although taking the collar (0 for 3) in last night’s game. Burrell will be trying to see if he can remain hot. A third hot bat, believe it or not, is Pedro Feliz, who has hit 11 for 35 in his last ten games for a .314 average, lifting his average up to .266. Another player who has been swinging the bat better lately is Jimmy Rollins who has gone 12 for 41 in the last ten games for a .293 average, along with five stolen bases. Jimmy could probably improve on his average by not swinging at the first three pitches thrown at him by pitchers, becoming more selective at the plate as he was last year. The Phillies’ offense hope that Chase Utley and Shane Victorino will also get hot during the last series of their present home stand, before they go out on their next road trip which will take them to Miami and New York, before coming back home for a short home stand with the Braves.
The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins and the Mets is still a game and a half, as both teams won their games yesterday, while their lead over the Braves has increased to six and a half games as the Braves has the day off. As the Phillies prepare to host the D-backs, the fish will continue their four games series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles, while the Mets will start a three games series at home with the Rockies, and the Braves will begin a three games series with the Padres in San Diego. The Phillies will be trying to win the third of their last four series while trying to increase their lead in the East before the All-Star break.