Phillies-Angels: 5 things you need to know

Phillies-Angels: 5 things you need to know
May 14, 2014, 11:00 am
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Garrett Richards has held his opponents to an AL-low .186 batting average.

TOP FASTBALL VELOCITY IN MLB

1. Yordano Ventura (KC): 96.1 mph
2. Garrett Richards (LAA): 96.0
3. Nate Eovaldi (Mia): 95.7
4. Gerrit Cole (Pit): 95.6
5. Wily Peralta (Mil): 95.2

If you were told prior Tuesday's game that Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick would combine to go 1 for 13, that the Angels' 6-7-8 would be Grant Green (who?), Luis Jimenez (who again?) and John McDonald, and that Cliff Lee would be given a two-run lead, would you believe that the Phillies would lose?

Well, they did. Because that's what the Phillies do -- they waste starting pitching. It's an issue that needs to be corrected and fast, because the Phils' top three starters are making $65 million this season.

Lee on Tuesday became the first Phillies starting pitcher since Brett Myers on April 6, 2003 to lose a game in which he allowed no earned runs.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Phils aim for a split with the Halos, who strangely play just two games here in a span of less than 24 hours.

Here are four more things you need to know about Wednesday's 1:05 p.m. game on CSN:

Can Burnett bounce back?
A.J. Burnett (2-2, 2.90) is coming off his worst start as a Phillie, though some of it was bad luck.

Burnett allowed seven runs (six earned) over six innings last Thursday. Four of those runs came via three homers, two of which barely left hitter-friendly Rogers Centre.

Colby Rasmus pulled a ball off Burnett down the right field line and it barely stayed fair and barely left the yard. Four innings later, Adam Lind hit a ball the other way that looked like a routine flyout. But it carried, and carried, and 345 feet later it was a two-run homer to left.

Neither of those balls leave most major-league stadiums.

Still, Burnett was not crisp last Thursday. And that came after four starts in which he posted a 0.98 ERA.

Just like Lee before him, Burnett has impressive numbers against these Angels. Current Halos have hit .208 against him with 28 strikeouts in 101 at-bats.

Scouting Garrett Richards
This is the Phillies' first look at Garrett Richards, an emering frontline American League starter.

Richards, 25, is 3-0 with a 2.80 ERA in seven starts. He's struck out 46 batters in 45 innings, and his four starts of five-plus innings and three or fewer hits lead the AL.

Richards was a first-round pick out of the University of Oklahoma in 2009.

He throws a fastball that averages 96.0 mph, which is second-fastest in the majors to Yordano Ventura of the Royals. He also uses a slider and curveball.

Angels sluggers slumping
Over his last six games, Pujols is 1 for 25. Trout is 4 for 26. This is the perfect time to be playing the Angels, and that's why anything less than a series split would be extremely disappointing.

Big swings by Brown
Domonic Browh crushed two balls to right-center field on Tuesday. Neither left the yard, but both might have if the wind wasn't gusting as it was.

One of Brown's flies was an out to the warning track. The other was a triple. It was exactly what the Phillies needed to see from Brown, who has not pulled the ball with authority this season.

Brown's also been very inconsistent and hasn't yet had a hot streak. That's got to change.

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