The Padres (28-35) limp into Philadelphia to take on the Phillies (25-36) for 3 games. It’s surprising to see the Padres have a better record than the Phillies. The Phils have had a rough start to the year. Some of that is due to injury, they have been without Cliff Lee since mid-May. Offensively, they have been almost as lifeless as the Padres.
Game 1 is Tuesday featuring Ian Kennedy (5-6, 3.39 ERA) against the veteran A.J. Burnett (3-5, 4.41 ERA). Kennedy has pitched well of late, winning his last 3 starts and striking out 22 in that stretch. Burnett has struggled lately, allowing 13 runs in his past 2 starts.
In Game 2, Tyson Ross (6-5, 3.22 ERA) will face off against Rancho Bernardo High grad Cole Hamels (2-3, 3.49 ERA). Ross got roughed up in his last start but has otherwise been solid. Hamels has been good most of the year as well, he has pitched at least 7 innings in 6 straight starts.
Though the Phillies have had spotty offense, they are excited about the production of 35-year-old Chase Utley, who is hitting .314 with 30 RBI and 24 doubles. Ryan Howard leads the team with 11 HR, but, as usual, is also leading the team in strikeouts. He is actually leading the major leagues in strikeouts. First-year Phillie Marlon Byrd is not far behind Howard on the strikeouts list but he also has 9 HRs and a .466 slugging percentage.
This is the first time these two teams have met this year. In 2013, the Padres were 2-4 against the Fightin’ Phils. The Phillies have the worst record in the National League. The Padres must take advantage of playing in a hitter’s park. Good news for Padres’ fans, Seth Smith is a career .378 hitter at Citizens Bank Park. The Friars will need him and many others to step up to win this series.
This starts a 9-game road trip that will also feature trips to New York and Seattle. The Padres split their last road trip.