On Saturday, the Phillies put a three-game losing streak to rest on the arm of big-league debuting David Buchanan and the awoken bat of Ben Revere for a 5-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers (see story).
The series rubber match on Sunday between the Phils (21-25) and Dodgers (26-24) should be fun, as former Marlins teammates A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett square off at Citizens Bank Park. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet.
Here are five things you need to know:
Burnett takes the ball
After posting a 2.06 ERA in his first seven starts, Burnett has come back to life a bit, going 1-2 over his last three outings with a 6.75 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 11 walks.
But for the most part, Burnett (3-3, 3.32) has been a giant shot in the arm to the Phillies’ rotation.
He’ll see a Dodgers team that he beat on April 22 in Los Angeles by throwing 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball, while walking just one.
When Burnett is on, he’s limiting free passes. The right-hander has a 2.66 ERA this season when he walks two or fewer. But at times, Burnett will rack up five or six walks and struggle to get through five innings.
Keep an eye on the 37-year-old against Dodgers lefties Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Andre Ethier and Dee Gordon. This season, lefties are hitting .302 off Burnett compared to righties hitting squarely on the Mendoza line (.200).
Keep Revere rolling
Saturday was a long time coming for Revere, who has the tools to be a menace for the opposition atop the Phils’ lineup, but hasn’t been because of his inability to reach base.
Revere, who lost some starts and his No. 1 spot in the order because of a .284 OBP, regained his leadoff duties on Saturday and responded, going 4 for 4 with three runs scored and his first double of the season (see story).
No one expects Revere to deliver four hits and three runs on a nightly basis, but if he can set the table more often like he did Saturday, the Phillies could finally hit a groove.
Get the ball to the ‘pen?
Based on the start to 2014, you’d never think that be an objective for the Phils this season. However, the trio of Jake Diekman, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon is looking more and more reliable as May rolls along.
Per CSNPhilly.com’s Corey Seidman, those three relievers have allowed just two earned runs in 28 combined innings since May 3.
It’s beginning to look like Phillies starters can finally have some confidence in handing off the ball with a lead after the sixth inning when those three are available.
The 34-year-old Beckett is throwing well this season. In eight starts, the righty is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA, .219 opponents’ batting average and 46 strikeouts to 17 walks.
Beckett can still throw his four-seam fastball at 93 mph and then drop off nearly 20 ticks with a low-to-mid-70s curveball that opponents are hitting just .119 off of this season. He’ll also mix in a low-90s cutter, high-80s changeup and low-90s sinker, but his bread and butter is the four-seamer and curveball.
The former World Series MVP has started against the Phillies twice since 2011, going 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA.
This and that
- Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard have combined for five homers versus Beckett.
- Crawford, who is hitting .386 since May 3, is 19 for 66 (.288) lifetime against Burnett.
- Yasiel Puig is the majors’ second-leading hitter (.347), while Utley is tied for third (.333).
- The Dodgers’ bullpen is tied for baseball’s most losses with 12.
- Los Angeles has the best road record in the National League at 17-11.