The Phillies (59-49) will play the Cardinals (61-50, 2nd-T National League Central) in a three games weekend series. The first game of the series will be played tonight in the new Busch Stadium and will start at 8:15 pm Eastern (7:15 pm Central). The Phillies’ will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.27), who will be coming off a bad outing against the Braves on July 26, getting a no-decision as he would last only three and two-thirds innings, giving up nine runs, only four of which were earned, on six hits, in the Phillies’ 10-9 win. Part of the reason for his early exit was because he got frustrated at the fact that he was giving up several runs, while not being hit hard in the process. This would especially appear to be the case when he throws away a double play ball hit right to him, which he could’ve made if he has just taken his time turning to face Jimmy Rollins and throwing it to him at second base, instead of behind him after he has already left his position between second and third. He has faced the Cardinals already once this year on July 8, losing that game as he went seven innings, giving up just two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 2-0 lost. He will for his fifth straight start be trying for his tenth win of the year, while also trying to increase the Phillies’ present winning streak to six games. The Cardinals’ starter will be ex-Phil Kyle Lohse (12-3, 3.68), who is coming off a lost against the Mets on July 27, pitching five innings as he gave up seven earned runs on eleven hits, in the Cardinals’ 9-1 lost. He has already faced the Phils once before back on June 14, winning that game as he goes eight innings, giving up only two earned runs on four hits, in the Cardinals’ 3-2 win. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to once again silence the Phillies’ bats.
The Phillies’ offense will be trying to help Hamels finally get his tenth win of the year, while getting some revenge on Lohse, who won his previous game thanks in part to a bad umpire call late in the game of a ball that was later shown to have been trapped by one of the Cardinals’ outfielders that the umpire would call an out. If anything, this series will become a test to see if the Phillies’ offense is truely back, since it was in St. Louis that they had their second twenty runs outburst, before the bats started to go silent for the rest of June and most of July.
The Phillies presently lead the Mets by a full game as they prepare for a three games series with the Astros in Houston. They lead the Marlins by a game and a half as they continue their four games series with the Rockies in Miami. The Braves trails the Phillies by nine games, slowly dissappearing from the pennant race, as they get ready to host the Brew Crew for a three games weekend series. The Phillies will be trying to increase their lead in the East before they return home for a six games home stand with the Marlins and the Pirates, where they hope to put some distance between themselves and the fish during their three games series starting on Tuesday.