Another series with the Nationals ends in a sweep... The Phillies are headed to the west coast to begin a tough road trip that includes three nights in San Diego, four in LA, and then they head back east for three at New Shea, finally heading home to face the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Orioles.
The key to starting this month on the right note is to take the momentum of being in first place and ending the homestand with sweep, but not any of the overconfidence that could come with it. The Phillies' record is heavily padded by an abundance of games against the worst team in baseball. Subtracting those, the Phils are sitting at .500 right now. We should still take each win as a positive though, because good teams are supposed to beat shitty ones. However, that's the last we'll see of the Nats until September, so the comp is about to get a lot more legit.
The Padres are a team that to me makes no sense so far this year. I have no idea whether or not they are "legit," but I'm leaning toward a big No. In 2008, they were little more than a quad-A team, yet they came out of the gate on fire in '09, going 9-4 and besting the Mets and Phillies (before having the latter four-game series shortened by a rained out finale on April 20). Right about then, the bottom fell out, and the Pads looked more like what you might expect. By May 14, they were 13-22. Then they won 10 in a row, evening back up at .500, where they still sit after trading a few Ws for Ls with the Diamondbacks and Rockies.
The pitching matchups for this series are fairly interesting, and for now, the Phillies side of the equation remains an unknown quantity.
Joe Blanton is coming off his best start of the season, in which he tossed seven shutout innings and 11 Ks. He'll get Kevin Correia. Then, in game 2, we'll see Jake Peavy—the guy just about every Delaware Valley fan wants to have in a Phillies uniform, and he'll face the guy he would likely replace if the Phillies were to trade for him, Antonio Bastardo. This will be Bastardo's first big league start, and he'll be fortunate to have it in the cavernous park that Peavy prefers to call home. JA Happ will close out the series, facing Chris Young. You wanna know about the Petco factor for a starting pitcher? Check out Young's home and road splits. The good news is, we'll have a veteran who can give up the long ball and two greenhorns going this week, so that park should play to the Phillies' favor in this scenario as well.
We'll have more on the pitching matchups, the beast that is Adrian Gonzalez, and the uh... other Padres each day of the series. All games start at 10:05, so get the coffee ready.