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.

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The pathway for Andrew Knapp to make the Phillies' opening day roster as the backup catcher was cleared way back in November when he was added to the 40-man roster.

The job all but became Knapp's on Monday when the team released two veteran catchers who were not on the 40-man roster. When Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday were let go, Knapp became one of just two catchers in camp, the other being starter Cameron Rupp (see story).

So it's pretty obvious that the 25-year-old Knapp will open the season with the big club -- even though nothing will become official until rosters are filed with the commissioner's office this weekend.

"Obviously there are four or five days left," Knapp said. "I'm just going to keep trying to make good impressions and try to win a job. I'm keeping my head down, trying not to think about it too much."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round draft pick out of Cal-Berkeley in 2013. He has never played in the majors.

"It would be a dream come true," he said. "Everyone hopes to get called up at some point but to make a team on opening day would be pretty special and it would be the best moment in my career so far."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that Knapp would probably make the club.

Mackanin would like to have the rest of his roster in order over the next day or two.

"As soon as possible," he said. "Because the last four or five games I'd like to play almost as if it were a season -- using the bullpen that way, using the bench in a certain way, seeing what it looks like, our bench guys, all our hitters. We just don't want to make a bad decision so we're just going to string it out as long as we can."

Roster questions that still must be answered:

How many spots remain on the bench? Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp are set. Will the Phillies go with a five-man bench, meaning there are two openings? Or will they go with a four-man bench, which opens the possibility for carrying eight relievers instead of the customary seven?

If the Phils go with a five-man bench, they will pick two from a group of four players that includes Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava, Brock Stassi and Jesmuel Valentin. The hunch is Coghlan will make the club, leaving the final spot down to Nava or Stassi. All three of those players are non-roster so the team would have to open a spot on the 40-man roster to accommodate them. Valentin has impressed -- and is already on the 40 -- but he might benefit from playing every day at Triple A.

Mackanin praised the work of Coghlan and Stassi.

"Stassi has obviously made a great impression, mainly because, not necessarily because of his results, but the fact that he had a lot of quality at-bats," Mackanin said. "It looks like he can handle making adjustments to the different pitchers and different situations. He seemed to handle left-handers well. He made a good impression, as has Coghlan. Nava has also been consistent throughout the spring."

If the Phils go with a four-man bench, Coghlan might be the only one to make the club. He is due a $100,000 retention bonus on Wednesday. If he wasn't going to make the team, he might be gone by now.

Going with a four-man bench would minimize the subtractions that the team would have to make from the 40-man roster. In that case, only one spot would have to be cleared.

A four-man bench means the Phillies could choose three relievers from a group of candidates that includes Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia, Alec Asher and Cesar Ramos. All but Ramos is on the 40-man roster.

How will this all shake out?

More answers could be coming on Tuesday.

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

A week before the season opener, it appears Andrew Knapp has won the Phillies' backup catcher competition.

The Phils on Monday released Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday, two veterans battling with Knapp for the backup spot to Cameron Rupp.

Knapp, 25, hasn't had an impressive spring, going 7 for 38 (.184) with 16 strikeouts, but the move makes sense because he's young and has at least a chance to contribute to the Phillies in the future, unlike Hanigan and Holaday. Plus, catcher Jorge Alfaro and first baseman Rhys Hoskins will likely open the season at Triple A, meaning Knapp would not have had an everyday spot with the IronPigs.

Knapp had his best game of the spring at the right time Sunday, hitting a two-run homer and throwing out two runners on the bases (see story).

"It's pretty obvious he seems to be the guy," manager Pete Mackanin said of Knapp. "Nothing's written in stone but if you read between the lines, it pretty much tells you something about it. No secret plans or anything like that. It is what it is right now."

At 25, Knapp isn't really a prospect anymore but rather a player the Phillies want to see sink or swim at the big-league level.

"He's not going to get 500 at-bats, but one of the things you can look at is any exposure to the big-league scene is valuable toward anyone's development," Mackanin said. "Let's say Knapp gets 200 at-bats, it's worth his while and our while to judge him, to give him a sense of confidence or knowing what he's up against.

"In that regard playing in the big leagues, even in a part-time role, is important."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round pick in 2013 out of the University of California. He broke out in 2015 by hitting .360 with a 1.050 OPS and more than an RBI per game in 241 plate appearances with Double A Reading.

Last season, the switch-hitting Knapp was an International League All-Star with Triple A Lehigh Valley, though he didn't have as impressive an offensive season, batting .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs.

"He's got a chance to be a pretty good hitter," Mackanin said. "And he's come along quite a ways defensively behind the plate to where I'm comfortable with him catching.

"Little by little he's shown improvement in the spring, even though he hasn't had the greatest spring offensively. He's had a lot of good at-bats and he's caught well."

Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp look like locks for the Phillies' bench. The final two bench spots are open with Brock Stassi, Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava and Jesmuel Valentin in the running (see story).

CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury contributed to this report.