Phillies-Diamondbacks: What you need to know

Phillies-Diamondbacks: What you need to know

May 12, 2013, 2:30 pm
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Phillies (17-21) at Diamondbacks (21-16)
4:10 p.m. – PHL17

The Phillies’ up-and-down west coast road trip comes to a close Sunday afternoon in Arizona, when Kyle Kendrick (4-1, 2.45) takes on Brandon McCarthy (0-3, 6.75).

Kendrick’s success has lasted 17 straight starts dating back to Aug. 14, 2012 – he’s 11-4 with a 2.43 ERA and .217 opponents’ batting average over that span.

McCarthy hasn’t pitched well since joining the Diamondbacks in free agency. He’s allowed 61 hits in 40 innings, the second-most in all of baseball to the Angels’ Joe Blanton. A strike-thrower, McCarthy has walked only six batters but still has a 1.68 WHIP because of the ugly hit total.

McCarthy has yet to allow fewer than eight hits in a game, so the Phillies’ sound offensive approach from Saturday’s win should theoretically continue into Sunday.

Good day for lefties?
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Domonic Brown have never seen McCarthy, but left-handed batters are hitting .358 with 10 extra-base hits in 95 at-bats against him this season.

Slump-bustin’
From April 30 to May 7, Rollins went 3 for 27 and saw his batting average plummet from .267 to .234 and his on-base percentage from .321 to .288. But over his last four games, J-Roll is 6 for 16 with a homer, two doubles, three RBIs, two runs, a walk and a steal. He homered on the first pitch of the game Friday, and on Saturday he twice drove Ben Revere in with a single and sac fly.

Speaking of Revere, Saturday was his best day of the season. He went 2 for 3 with a walk, scored two runs and stole a base. He reached base three times out of the eight-hole, allowing Cliff Lee to bunt him over three times.

The Phillies’ offense looks significantly different when Revere and Rollins actually get on base and can utilize their speed.

Saturday was just the third time all season Revere reached base three times in a game. His on-base percentage is up to .293. Only three times this season has Revere entered a game with an OBP over .290, and one was after opening day. Today, he's back in the leadoff spot (see lineup).

Arizona’s bland offense
A split with Arizona would make the Phillies 4-3 on their road trip, which is about as successful a trip as you could have asked for after last weekend’s debacle against the Marlins.

But based on what we’ve seen in the desert this week, the Phillies really should have come away with a series win. The D'backs do not look like a good offensive team. Paul Goldschmidt is a fearsome hitter in the middle, but Arizona lacks another true thumper.

Miguel Montero  (.203 BA) and Martin Prado (.230) still haven’t gotten going, Aaron Hill is on the DL, Cody Ross has just one home run and Jason Kubel is now a part-time player. Didi Gregorius, Gerardo Parra and A.J. Pollock have been the saving graces for a team that is in the middle of the pack in homers, batting average and on-base percentage.

You get what you pay for
Kudos to Charlie Manuel for finally bringing Jonathan Papelbon into a crucial eighth-inning situation, and to the closer himself for picking up five huge outs for his sixth save.

With one out and men on second and third in a two-run game, Papelbon struck out Eric Hinske and Pollock swinging to end the game. On the season, Papelbon has 11 strikeouts and just one walk in 14 2/3 innings. He’s allowed five hits and no runs since Jason Heyward’s meaningless two-run homer off him on the second day of the season.

The Phillies haven’t gotten a chance to use Papelbon as much as they’d like, but when they’ve turned to him, the highest-paid closer has earned his money. He now has a 2.23 ERA and 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings as a Phillie.

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