Phillies (5-7) at San Diego Padres (3-10) -- 10:05 p.m. on CSN
The Phillies 10-game west coast road trip began with a frustrating series loss in San Francisco. The Phils now travel to sunny San Diego for a four-game set with the Padres, who have the NLs third-worst run differential and are being outscored by an average of 1.2 runs per game.
Vance Worley (0-1, 3.75 ERA) gets the start for the Phillies, which likely means Brian Schneider will be in the lineup. Schneider has caught Worleys last 14 starts dating back to July 15, 2011.
The Phillies have lost five straight Worley starts after winning 14 in a row from June 18 to Sept. 6 last season.
Last time out, Worley allowed two home runs for only the second time in his career. He also walked four Mets; three of Worleys five career four-walk games have come against the Mets.
Facing Worley is 22-year-old Padres righthander Joe Wieland (0-1,10.80 ERA). Wieland, a fourth-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 2008, went to San Diego for reliever extraordinaire Mike Adams at the 2011 trade deadline. Wielands first major league start came last Saturday against the Dodgers, when he allowed six runs and three homers over five innings.
The 6-foot-3 righty throws a 90-92 mile per hour fastball and uses a curveball as his top secondary pitch. He also throws a changeup and a slider.
The Phillies wasted 10 brilliant, shutout innings from Cliff Lee on Wednesday and lost, 1-0, in 11 innings. The late stages were filled with questionable managerial decisions, defensive miscues and an inability to advance runners.
The Padres are coming off a series loss to the Rockies. In the middle game at Coors Field, San Diego made Jamie Moyer the oldest pitcher to ever win a major-league game.
The Phillies are a remarkable 21-7 against the Padres since 2008 and 12-1 at PETCO Park. The Phils had won 10 in a row against the Padres prior to losing the teams last meeting of 2011.
When the Phils went to San Diego for a four-game series last April, they outscored the Padres 12-3 in a sweep. Worleys promotion to the bigs was still a week away.
Worley has never faced the Padres and Wieland has never faced the Phillies.
Freddy Galvis has used an eight-game hitting streak to boost his batting average to .237. As either a sign of his pleasantly surprising pop or an indictment of the Phillies offense, Galvis is tied for the team-lead with four extra-base hits.
Shane Victorinos 10-game hitting streak ended Wednesday.
Padres third baseman Chase Headley is on a tear. Since starting the season 0 for 11, Headley is 13 for 35 with nine walks and nine extra-base hits. On Monday he hit three doubles. On Wednesday he hit two home runs. Worley will have to be careful with the uber-patient 27-year-old switch-hitter.
Charlie Manuel, who hasnt pushed many of the right buttons in a season that has already called for more managing than prior years. On Wednesday, Manuel pinch hit with Jim Thome with one out and a runner on third in the 11th inning, and left Thome up when Bruce Bochy countered with devastating lefty Javier Lopez. The lefthanded hitting Thome struck out while righties John Mayberry and Placido Polanco sat on the bench.
Then, Manuel pinch-hit for Juan Pierre who has a .305 career batting average against lefties with Mayberry. It was a situation that called for contact, which is Pierres specialty. A second guess isnt a second guess when it is questioned at the time, and these moves were heavily criticized by Phillies fans and analysts on Twitter as they were unfolding.
The Phillies offense needs to pick up and San Diego is the worst place to do it. Because of spacious dimensions and a sea breeze that knocks balls down, PETCO Park has produced the fewest runs and home runs of any major-league stadium since 2008.
Even if the Phils win, theyll be in sole possession of last place in the NL East for a second straight night after staying out of the division cellar for 1,825 straight days.
Will a trip to San Diego be the perfect medicine for a struggling Phillies team, or is this offense too tough to trust right now?
E-mail Corey Seidman at firstname.lastname@example.org.