Lee, Phils Out to Plunder First Series Win From Bucs

Lee, Phils Out to Plunder First Series Win From Bucs

This is what makes facing the Phillies so daunting. There was never really any doubt that Roy Halladay would take care of business on Opening Day, and he surely did not disappoint. The Pirates were held to two hits, zero runs thanks to the combination of Doc, and brand new closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. Against most teams, you brush that off, and go after the next guy.

Except the next guy for Philadelphia is Cliff Lee.

The 2008 AL Cy Young winner had another phenomenal season in 2011, one during which he was almost literally untouchable for months at a time, specifically June and August. His 17 wins were good for fourth in the NL, his 2.40 ERA third. He was third with a 1.027 WHIP, sixth with 7.6 hits per nine, second with 238 strikeouts, first with six complete game shutouts -- you get the picture. Batters are better off walking the plank than up to the plate.

Lee's last start against the Pirates was on July 30 at Citizens Bank Park. He allowed four runs on eight hits in 7.2 innings of work, but struck out 11 and picked up the win in a 7-4 victory. In his lone start at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, Lee earned a no decision with the Indians in 2010, giving up two over seven frames.

While the Phillies didn't exactly demonstrate a potent offense on Opening Day, you'll usually take Cliff Lee over whoever marches out under the opposite team's flag -- in this case, Jeff Karstens.

Karstens is coming off of a career year despite struggling mightily from fatigue down the stretch. A product of the New York Yankees farm system, the righthander was 8-8 in 26 starts last season, and 9-9 in 30 appearances with a 3.38 ERA. He doesn't strike many batters out (5.3 SO/9), but the 29 year old was third in the NL while giving 1.83 free passes per nine. Only Halladay and Lee were better, with Cole Hamels right behind them.

Karstens had a good spring, and should be able to pick up where he left off in the first half last year.

Batter vs. Pitcher

A couple players who have given Karstens his share of trouble though are Jimmy Rollins and Hunter Pence. Rollins is 6-for-13 lifetime against Karstens, including 4-for-7 with two RBIs and one run in 2011. Pence has solid career numbers -- 8-for-21 with a home run -- but cooled off considerably versus Karstens last season, going 3-for-11 with zero extra base hits. Still, look for the heart of the armada to fire some shots tonight.

Both have had success running against Karstens as well. Rollins and Pence each have two stolen bases in five combined attempts. The Phils did not run too much on lefty Erik Bedard on Thursday, with Shane Victorino picking up the club's lone stolen base, but looting from the Bucs on the base paths could be a bigger part of the game plan in game two.

Inside the Box Score

Freddy Galvis went 0-for-4 in his Major League debut on Thursday, which was half expected to be honest. However, they are going to need more from him going forward, even batting out of the eight hole.

All four Galvis outs ended an inning -- two on routine ground ball double plays -- leaving Roy Halladay to lead off three times. Doc made the best of a bad situation, going 1-for-3 himself, but no matter how well Phillies pitchers hit, the offense must get better at turning the lineup over, now more than ever.

This is by mo means intended to kill the 22 year old. Galvis appeared in just 33 games at Triple A last season, and suddenly finds himself Opening Day second baseman for the big club. Credit the Pirates Erik Bedard for a strong outing as well, the veteran pitcher putting the rookie in his place (0-3, 2 DP).

That said, it's a situation to monitor. Galvis had a decent spring, batting .280 with nine runs and 14 RBIs, so there's no reason to think he can't handle it. This is the real deal though, and the Phillies have to do the little things to win this year.

Starting Lineup

Andrew Bynum’s new hairdo will haunt your dreams

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The Associated Press

Andrew Bynum’s new hairdo will haunt your dreams

Of all the questionable decisions in Andrew Bynum’s career, this might just take the cake as the worst. No, it definitely does. 

Just look at that hair. What was he thinking? Was he even thinking at all?  

Bynum, who is no stranger to bad — I mean really bad — hair, looks to be enjoying his retirement. But let’s dig a bit deeper. Put on your polarized sunglasses and look past that bright yellow hair, because there is much more going on in this picture.

Forget his time as a member of the Sixers, smiling in a picture with a Penguins’ fan might be the biggest travesty Bynum has committed against the city.

And where was this picture taken? It appears to be a casino or arcade. Wherever it is, for the sake of Bynum’s precious knees, let’s hope it’s not a bowling alley

More MLB Notes: First baseman James Loney traded from Padres to Mets

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USA Today Images

More MLB Notes: First baseman James Loney traded from Padres to Mets

NEW YORK -- The Mets have found help at first base following Lucas Duda's injury, acquiring veteran James Loney from the San Diego Padres for cash.

Loney has spent this season in the minors, playing well for Triple-A El Paso. He was batting .342 with two home runs and 28 RBIs over 43 games in the Pacific Coast League.

Always a fine fielder, the 32-year-old Loney hit .280 with four homers, 16 doubles and 32 RBIs in 104 games with Tampa Bay last year. The Rays released him April 3 and he signed with the Padres on April 8.

Duda was put on the disabled list Monday with a stress fracture in his lower back that is expected to sideline him at least four to six weeks, probably longer.

Until Duda returns, Mets manager Terry Collins says Loney, a left-handed hitter, will mostly face right-handed pitching in a first-base platoon with Wilmer Flores and Eric Campbell. Flores is close to returning from a strained hamstring.

Royals: Catcher Perez hurt, helped from field
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez had to be helped off the field in the ninth inning Saturday against the Chicago White Sox after colliding with rookie third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert while catching Adam Eaton's foul popup.

Cuthbert came sliding in and struck Perez's lower legs. Perez went down in pain as trainer Nick Kenney and manager Ned Yost rushed to the field.

Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and left fielder Alex Gordon collided Sunday while chasing a foul ball at Chicago and both landed on the disabled list. Gordon has a broken right wrist and is out for three to four weeks, while Moustakas tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is likely out for the season.

Drew Butera replaced Perez.

Cardinals: Matt Carpenter activated from paternity list
WASHINGTON -- Third baseman Matt Carpenter has been activated from the paternity list by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Carpenter missed two games after being placed on the paternity list Thursday. His wife gave birth to the couple's first child, a girl, on Wednesday.

Carpenter leads the Cardinals with nine home runs and 32 RBIs.

To make room for Carpenter on the 25-man roster, St. Louis designated infielder Ruben Tejada for assignment on Saturday. Tejada was batting .176 over 23 games with no homers and three RBIs.

If Tejada is released, St. Louis would be responsible for the remainder of his $1.5 million salary this year, which was $1,049,180 entering Saturday.

Instant Replay: Cubs 4, Phillies 1

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The Associated Press

Instant Replay: Cubs 4, Phillies 1

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs continue to dominate the Phillies with extra-base hits and terrific starting pitching.
 
They beat the Phils for the second day in a row Saturday. The final score at Wrigley Field was 4-1. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks went the distance for the win. The Phils scored in the ninth inning to avoid a shutout.
 
The Phils have been held to two or fewer runs 18 times and one or fewer 11 times. They are averaging just 3.22 runs per game.
 
The Cubs, who lead the majors with 33 wins, have stroked nine extra-base hits in the first two games of the series and four of them have been homers. The Phils have just three extra-base hits, all doubles. One was a misplay by the Cubs’ outfield.
 
The Phillies are 1-4 on this six-game road trip, which started in Detroit.
 
The Phils have lost six of their last eight games and are now just three games over .500 at 26-23.
 
Starting pitching report
Eickhoff was not nearly as efficient as he was in his previous start when he threw just 85 pitches in seven innings in a 5-0 win over Atlanta. This time, Eickhoff threw a season-high 109 pitches over six innings. He gave up eight hits, four for extra bases and four runs. He walked one and struck out seven.
 
Eickhoff was tagged for three extra-bases hits in the first inning, a home run and two doubles. For the season, Eickhoff is 2-7 with a 4.07 ERA.
 
Hendricks held the Phillies to five hits, three of which were singles. He was not overpowering, but his command was exceptional. He did not walk a batter and struck out seven while throwing just 104 pitches.
 
Jon Lester held the Phillies to one earned run in 6⅓ innings Friday.
 
Bullpen report
The Cubs didn’t need one. Andrew Bailey and Elvis Araujo pitched scoreless ball for the Phillies.
 
At the plate
The Phillies had just five hits. Ryan Howard returned to the starting lineup and went 0 for 4 to drop to .154.
 
The Cubs, who hit three home runs Friday, got their power game going early as Dexter Fowler led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo homer against Eickhoff. Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist both doubled in the inning as the Cubs went up 2-0 in the first. Heyward doubled home a run in the second inning.
 
Up next
The Phillies and Cubs close out the series Sunday afternoon. Vince Velasquez (5-1, 2.75) pitches for the Phillies against right-hander John Lackey (4-2, 3.83).
 
The Phillies return home Monday night to open a 10-game homestand that will see Washington, Milwaukee and the Cubs comes to town.