The first place (No, not the Giants) Arizona Diamondbacks come in to Philadelphia for a three game series beginning on Tuesday (Weather permitting). For anyone who’s hasn’t had the pleasure of listening to a Diamondbacks broadcast, Daron Sutton and Mark Grace are awful. If you ever need someone to break bad news, Sutton, the play by play announcer, is your guy. Sutton could make a pouring rain storm sound like a bright sunny day and it’s insufferable to listen to. Mark Grace never met a Diamondback he didn’t like. Anyway, the Diamondbacks can absolutely mash the baseball. They are seventh in the Majors in runs scored and slugging percentage. Justin Upton leads the Diamondbacks in all offensive categories and is likely to be one of the top candidates for the National League MVP. The Dbacks have a very underrated pitching staff led by Ian Kennedy. Kennedy is tied with Roy Halladay in wins and already has a complete game shut out against the Phillies this year under his belt. The Phillies split a two game set with the Washington Nationals with Sunday’s game rained out. Cole Hamels struggled on Friday with what Charlie Manuel said was “a dead arm.” It’s something to keep an eye on, but nothing major at the moment. The Phils took advantage of three Nationals’ errors to win 11-3. The Diamondbacks took two out of three from the Phillies in Arizona in April.
Game 1- Josh Collmenter (7-7, 3.51 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (15-4, 2.51 ERA) Rookie Josh Collmenter and his funky delivery rebounded nicely against the Astros in his last start. He went seven innings and allowed just two runs. In his previous six innings of work, he gave up 11 earned runs. The Diamondbacks have lost seven of Collmenter’s last ten starts. He’s never started against the Phillies, but pitched an inning of relief against them in April. Since Sunday’s game was postponed, Doc Halladay’s start will be pushed back to Tuesday. Halladay allowed just one earned run in 6 1/3 innings against the Dodgers in his last start, picking up his National League leading 15th win. Doc’s numbers continue to stagger the competition. tied for 1st in wins, 1st in CGs, 1st in innings pitched, 3rd in ERA, 4th in WHIP and strikeouts. Roy is 3-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his career vs. Arizona. No Diamondback has more than 13 at bats off of him.
Game 2- Joe Saunders (8-9, 3.76 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (12-7,2.83 ERA). Saunders is lucky that his ERA isn’t closer to 5. His WHIP is 1.34, opponents are hitting .271 against him, and he’s given up 20 home runs. In his last start, Saunders gave up 5 runs and 11 hits in six innings against the Astros. He is 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA against the Phillies lifetime. He was blown up for six runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings against the Phillies in April, taking the loss. You know you’re not very good when Ben Francisco is hitting .455 against you. Raul Ibanez also hits Saunders well, posting a .348 average in his career. The Phillies, collectively, are hitting .313 against Joe. Cliff Lee is currently on a seventeen inning scoreless streak. He threw his fifth complete game shut out of the season against the Dodgers on August 9th. He also managed to hit a home run in the game as well. During his scoreless streak, Lee has struck out 18, walk two, and allowed just 11 hits. Cliff is 2-1 with a 3.43 ERA in his career vs. the Diamondbacks. Lee had an interesting start against Arizona in April. He went seven innings and struck out twelve, but gave up two home runs and four runs in route to a 4-0 loss. Willie Bloomquist has had the most at bats against Cliff for the Diamondbacks but is only hitting .241. Arizona as a team is only hitting .208 against Lee.
Game 3- Ian Kennedy (15-3, 3.12 ERA) vs. Vance Worley (8-1, 2.85 ERA) Safe to say, Kennedy has had a break out year. Ian is first in winning percentage, tied for first in wins, sixth in innings pitched, eighth in strikeouts and WHIP. The Diamondbacks have won his last seven starts. In his last start against the Mets, Ian allowed one run in seven innings. Kennedy is 1-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his career against the Phillies. His win came this year in Arizona where he threw a complete game shutout. As you may expect, the Phillies are hitting .106 against Kennedy. Vance Worley has his worst start since late May against the Dodgers. He gave up six runs in four innings, but was bailed out by Ryan Howard as the Phillies completed a six run comeback to win 9-7. The Phillies haven’t lost a Worley start since that terrible game against the Mets on May 29th. (I was there for that!) Vanimal has never faced the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Note: The Harry Kalas statue will be unveiled on Tuesday.