Phillies-Padres: What you need to know

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Phillies-Padres: What you need to know

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.

Starting Pitchers
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.

Previous games
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.

Head-to-head
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.
Whos hot
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.

Whos not
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.

Storylines
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.

Sound off
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 cseidman@comcastsportsnet.com.

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to baseball's Hall of Fame

NEW YORK -- Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received a majority of votes for the first time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell , on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

"Anxiety was very, very high," Bagwell said. "I wrote it on a ball tonight. It was kind of cool."

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones and Jim Thome in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.

Lee Smith, who had 478 saves, got 34 percent in his final time on the ballot. Jorge Posada, Tim Wakefield and Magglio Ordonez were among the players who got under 5 percent and fell off future ballots.

No splashes, but Phillies significantly upgraded lineup this offseason

No splashes, but Phillies significantly upgraded lineup this offseason

The addition of outfielder Michael Saunders doesn't suddenly make the Phillies an NL contender, but coupled with the trade for Howie Kendrick, the Phils' projected lineup is much deeper and more well-rounded than it was at this time last year.

By adding two capable corner outfield bats, the lineup has been lengthened, and it's unlikely you'll see someone like Freddy Galvis in the five-hole much in 2017.

The Saunders signing is not yet official, but assuming it goes through, the Phils' lineup could look like this on opening day:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B (S)
2. Howie Kendrick, LF 
3. Odubel Herrera, CF (L)
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Michael Saunders, RF (L)
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS (S)

Considering the Phillies started Cedric Hunter and Peter Bourjos in the outfield corners last opening day, this is a huge upgrade even if Kendrick and Saunders are not huge names. 

Phillies leftfielders hit .212/.284/.332 last season. Unless Kendrick forgets how to hit overnight, he won't come close to those numbers. Phillies rightfielders had eight home runs in 637 plate appearances last season. Give Saunders that many PAs and you're likely looking at 27 to 30 homers.

Before last season, Kendrick hit between .279 and .322 every year from 2006 to 2015. Having a guy who can hit .290 with a .330-plus on-base percentage in the two-hole is a big deal, especially if he's hitting between Hernandez (.371 OBP last season) and Herrera (.361 OBP). You can foresee plenty of scenarios where, if that's the 1-2-3, Herrera comes up with runners on the corners in the first inning.

Saunders is another 20-plus home run bat. When you look through the Phillies' lineup, there are potentially five of those. Plus, don't sleep on the improvement Herrera made in that department last season, almost doubling his HR total from eight to 15.

The balance of left-handed and right-handed bats will make the Phillies more difficult to pitch to. It was important that the outfield bat they added was left-handed, because if not you'd be looking at an extremely right-handed heavy middle of the order.

Also, don't underestimate the impact of adding two veteran hitters who have had success in the majors. Franco could use all the additional advice he can get. Herrera, too, is at an impressionable age. Might Franco be less likely to give away an at-bat, as he did so many times in 2016, with someone like Kendrick there to greet him at the top step of the dugout? That question may sound silly, but the entire environment changes when you add a respected veteran leader to a clubhouse filled with kids.

This is not to say the Phillies will have a top-five offense in 2017. They'll still likely be toward the bottom-half or bottom-third of the National League, but as of right now this isn't the NL's worst lineup like it was for the majority of last season. The Reds and Padres have worse lineups, and you could add the Brewers and Pirates to that list if Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen are traded.

Pete Mackanin has called for more offense and more lineup flexibility and he's gotten it, even though it doesn't involve real star power. Kendrick's ability to also play first base and second base could allow Aaron Altherr to get some playing time in an outfield corner when Hernandez or Joseph sits. 

The only real casualty of the Saunders signing is Roman Quinn, who Mackanin confirmed Tuesday night would likely spend the year at Triple A. Quinn showed some flashes late last season and is an exciting player, but it would have been risky to rely on him as a starting outfielder in 2017 given he's never even reached 400 plate appearances in a season.