Chad Billingsley, RHP (9-6, 3.82 ERA) vs. Roy Oswalt, RHP (6-13, 3.50 ERA)
Time: 7:05 p.m at Citizens Bank Park
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Weather: Partly cloudy, 89
When the Dodgers hang a 15-spot on the Phillies, there isn’t a whole lot to feel too good about. But the way the Phillies allowed most of those runs is even more troubling.
Forget that Kyle Kendrick didn’t make it out of the fourth inning. KK had put together three very good starts in a row, and last night was an example of what common folk call “the law of averages” and math majors refer to as “regression to the mean.” Plain and simple, he was due to get hit around, and did he ever against the Dodgers.
Over the course of a 162-game season, any team’s fifth starter is going to give up plenty of runs and have more than a few bad nights. After all, that’s why he’s the fifth starter. Injuries notwithstanding, the Phillies’ real problem was encapsulated by what happened after Kendrick was out of the game. The offense mounted a rally, but the bullpen couldn’t keep the Dodgers at bay, allowing nine – nine! – earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. David Herndon, Danys Baez and, sadly, even J.C. Romero … do you trust these guys to consistently get batters out when called upon? (I won’t lump Antonio Bastardo with them because he’s only recently returned to the Phillies, but his ERA is 5.54, so maybe he should be grouped there too.) After Tuesday’s blowup, the Phillies’ bullpen ERA is 4.26, which ranks 10th in the NL and 19th in the major leagues. The Braves, by comparison, were almost a full run better (3.22) entering Wednesday – good enough to rank third in the league and fifth in the bigs.
Ruben Amaro has apparently hitched his star to starting pitching, and the Phillies are going to need an extra-strength dose of it tonight from Roy Oswalt. As for the team the Phillies are chasing, the Braves won again today – despite another blown save by Billy Wagner and the absence of Larry Wayne Jones, who reportedly was feeling much better after spraining his left knee in last night’s comeback win over the Astros. Jones is scheduled to have an MRI Thursday, and it appears the outlook is much better than when he was writhing in pain on the field.
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LINEUP: Rollins SS, Polanco 3B, Gload 1B, Ibanez LF, Werth CF, Brown RF, Ruiz C, Valdez 2B, Oswalt P
My roommate got this once in college. The name stuck out, as did the fact that you could get a 30-pack for the same price as a case of Natty Light. That’s right. This beer is cheaper than Natty Light. I was too scared to try any, but according to my roommate, it’s the pisswater to end all pisswater. And this is coming from the guy who drank heavy Busch for four years. Enjoy.– By Michael