Phillies (36-40) at Padres (38-38)
10:10 p.m. – CSN
After finishing a disappointing homestand 3-3, the Phillies head out west for three games in San Diego and four at Dodger Stadium before ending the 10-game trip in Pittsburgh.
The Padres have been a hot team in June, winning 10 of their last 15 while the Phils have lost 10 of 15. Even after losses Saturday and Sunday, San Diego is at .500 and just 3½ games out of first place in the tight NL West.
Not the same PETCO
The dimensions of notoriously pitcher-friendly PETCO Park were changed this offseason for the sake of balance.
The left-center field fences were brought in 12 feet. In right-center, the wall was brought in 11 feet and shortened. While it has helped hitters, the climate still prevents PETCO from being any sort of hitter’s haven. The marine layer –- you’ve likely heard that term before in regards to San Diego’s ballpark –- results in chilly nights and flyballs that die.
PETCO Park opened in 2004, the same year as Citizens Bank Park. One oddity in the 10 years since the Padres moved there is that the Phillies -- despite having been built around home-run hitters for much of the last decade -- have absolutely dominated them in San Diego. The Phils are 24-6 all-time at PETCO and have outscored the Padres 135-83.
Practically every time the Phillies have turned to Cliff Lee while on a losing streak of at least two games this season, he settles things down by pitching a gem.
During skids this year Lee is 7-0 with a 1.66 ERA. In those games Lee has 48 strikeouts and three walks in 54 1/3 innings. His WHIP is 0.70.
On the season, Lee is 9-2 with a 2.55 ERA. A win tonight would tie him with Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn and Jordan Zimmermann for the National League-lead.
Lee has only pitched at PETCO twice. He has a 1.93 ERA there, but it’s one of the five current stadiums where he’s never won.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Chris Denorfia have hit him well, going 8 for 20 with a pair of doubles. But all other active Padres have a .189 combing batting average vs. Lee. No player on San Diego’s roster has ever homered off him.
Stults to start
The Phillies face Padres lefty Eric Stults (6-5, 3.25) tonight. He’s only faced the Phils once in his career, and that was in relief way back in 2007.
Stults has been a godsend for San Diego, which selected him off waivers from the White Sox last May.
Stults finished April with a 5.67 ERA, but has a 2.31 ERA in 10 starts since and has allowed just three homers in 70 innings. Lefties have hit .200 against him this season and .169 vs. his off-speed offerings.
Stults has four pitches: fastball, changeup, slider and curve. Nothing is harder than 87-88 mph. The slider is his out-pitch against lefties and he loves the changeup against righties.
Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz are a combined 5 for 28 (.179) with no RBIs, one extra-base hit and one run since their returns from injury.
Down two studs
The Padres are currently playing without shortstop Everth Cabrera and second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who have been their two best players in 2013.
Cabrera was hitting .308/.382/.418 with an NL-leading 31 steals when he went down with a hamstring injury.
Gyorko, a rookie, had hit .330 with a .934 OPS in the 25 games leading up to his groin strain.
Headley led the NL in RBIs last season with 115, but has just 26 in 62 games. He started the season on the DL and has hit .224 since coming off.
The Phillies are 15-7 against the Marlins and Mets and 21-33 against everyone else.
The Phils have a winning record against just three of the 15 teams they’ve faced this season.