San Diego….a whale’s….eh, nevermind.

The 61-36 Phillies welcome the 44-55 San Diego Padres for a four game wrap around series. The Phillies have won eight consective series after recently taking two out of three from the Chicago Cubs. The Padres, who are dead last in the National League in runs scored, destroyed the Florida Marlins in a three game sweep by a combined score of 23-6. The Padres, who come in thirteen games out of first place in the NL West, will be sellers at the deadline,  Padres’ relief pitchers Mike Adams and Heath Bell are on the hot commodities on the trading block. Adams and his 1.20 ERA in 45 games is under team control until 2012 which gives him more value then the free agent to be Heath Bell.  Bell has 117 saves in the last two and half seasons and is looking to get traded to a contender to either close or setup.  The Padres also have outfielder Ryan Ludwick who is being scouted as the right handed bat that most of the contenders could use.  If you read the website MLB Trade Rumors, the Phillies have been rumored to be interested in all three players. With the return of Brad Lidge this weekend and Jose Contreras eventually, it’s not likely the Phillies acquire any of the Padres’ relievers.  The Padres’ team ERA is 3.19 which is third in the NL. So while the Padres can’t score, their staff can shut down a very inconsistent Phillies offense. The Phillies swept a four game series against the Padres in San Diego this year.  The Padres scored three runs in four games.

Game 1- Cory Luebke (3-3, 2.57 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (11-5, 2.71 ERA). Luebke, a left hander who was a reliever, recently became a starter and has been fanastic. In his four starts, Luebke has gone 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA with opponents hitting .148 against him.  Cole Hamels was absolutely brutal against the Mets on Saturday, just ask Mike O. His two worst starts of the season have come against the Mets. Hamels is awesome against his hometown team, going 5-2 with 2.45 ERA in his career vs. the Padres.  In a start this year vs. the Padres,  Cole struck out eight  in eight innings during a 2-0 win on April 22nd. Ryan Ludwick has had the most success against Hamels going 5-15 with two home runs in his career.  Interestingly enough, Alberto Gonzalez (no, not Adrian) has the highest batting average against Cole, hitting .385 off of Hamels in thirteen at bats.

Game 2- Mat Latos (5-10, 4.02 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (5-4, 3.34 ERA) Last year, Latos won 14 games with 189 strikeouts  in 184 and 2/3 innings along with a 2.92 ERA.  This year, Latos has been very up and down. His ERA pushes towards 5 in April and June while in May and July his ERA was a little over 3. In his last three starts, Latos has been very unlucky going 0-2 with an  ERA of 3.10. Against the Phillies in his career, he’s winless with a 3.86 ERA in 20 innings pitched. In his one start against the Phillies this season, he went only 4 and 1/3 innings because of an extremely high pitch count (107). He walked five, but also struck out seven, and took the loss.   Kyle Kendrick is coming off an outstanding start against the Mets in which he gave up a run in seven innings of work. He’s been pretty decent as a starter, going 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA. (very 5th starter like)  In his last three starts, he’s managed to post a 1.38 ERA.  Kendrick hasn’t been pitch a lot against the Padres in his career with only 10 and 2/3 innings, but in that time, his ERA is almost six.

Game 3-Tim Stauffer (6-6, 2.83 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (11-4, 2.57 ERA). Stauffer is arguably the staff ace for the Padres. Since June 7th, Stauffer has posted the third best starters’ ERA in baseball. In his last three starts, he’s 2-1 with a 2.00 ERA.  He’s made one start against the Phillies this year going six innings, striking out seven, and allowing two runs.   Stauffer made one other start against the Phillies in his career and was blown up for 11 runs in four innings of work in 2007.  Phillies starter Roy Halladay gave the fans a scare when he left his last start against the Cubs in the fifth inning because of heat exhaustion.  With temperatures in the 100’s the first two days of the series, Halladay catches a break with a temperature of 89 expected on Sunday. Doc is  2-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his career vs. San Diego.  His start this year against the Padres was nothing short of masterful. He had fourteen strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings of work, giving up just one run.   Jason Barlett is the only Padre with more than six at bats against Halladay (33) and is hitting .303 against him.

Game 4- Aaron Harang (8-2, 3.29 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (9-6, 2.83 ERA)  At one point his career, Aaron Harang was a strikeout pitcher, leading the league in strikeouts in 2006. However since then, Aaron has reinvented himself and it’s all come together this year. Harang already has more wins this year than in his previous three seasons. In his last three starts, Aaron has been outstanding, going 1-0 with 1.47 ERA.  He’s been hit around by the Phillies in his career (2-2, 5.25 ERA). Ryan Howard has hit three home runs off of Harang in his career, while Chase Utley is hitting .450 against Aaron as well.  Cliff Lee was solid in his last start against the Cubs going six innings, allowing eight hits, and two runs.  After giving up five hits to the first nine Cubs batters, he finished off fifteen of the last eighteen batters he faced.  Lee is 1-1 with 4.05 ERA for his career against the Padres.  Jason Bartlett has the most at bats against Lee from his time in the American League and is hitting .294 against Cliff.

Prediction- Expect a lot of low scoring games. Don’t let the Padres’ record fool you, their pitching staff is very good. In the four game series in April, a total of 15 runs were scored between the two teams for the whole series.  With Lee, Halladay, Hamels going in the series, the Phillies’ matchup well against the Padres.  Phils take three out of four. Considering Kendrick and Worley are the only two starters to win since the All-Star break, who knows which pitchers win, but as long as they win the series, all is well.

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