After a series sweep in Milwaukee, and overall going 4-1 on the shortened road trip, the Phillies return home for a seven game homestand. The homestand begins against Pittsburgh, who have already visited Citizens Bank Park this year during the On Deck Series with the Phillies taking both games. This homestand will most likely be the much-anticipated return of #11, Jimmy Rollins, who has been out since the home opener on April 12th with a calf strain. It will also mark the return of Carlos Ruiz who has been out since Wednesday day-to-day with a knee strain. In 2009, the Phillies won the season series 4-2 (sweep at home, one win and two losses on the road).
GAME ONE: Charlie Morton (1-6, 9.19) vs. Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 5.89)
Even for someone like Kendrick who has struggled for consistent quality starts, this is a favorable matchup for him. Morton’s most recent outing was successful, but his start ended up in the loss column. This season, he too falls victim to the big inning, yet as of late he has started to avoid it. His last two starts have been quality ones, and the Pirates are hoping it will be a boost mentally for him. In regular season play, the Phillies have not seen much of Morton, who is 0-1 with a 7.88 ERA in two starts against the Phillies. Our current lineup is batting .200 in 23 plate appearances. The Phillies are 4-20 with one home run (Victorino) and three RBIs. Kendrick was so-so in his latest outing against Colorado; he received a no decision in a game he gave up four runs in six innings which the Phillies went on to win in the ninth. He has been better lately, and hopefully he can build on his two quality starts of the season. He has faced only four batters on the Pirates current lineup, and they are batting .400 against him. They are 8-20, with a home run (Ryan Church) three RBIs and four walks. Kendrick should look to go at least six, and with the uncertainty and somewhat unreliability of the bullpen; the Phillies should score runs early to ensure a decisive lead is handed over to the pen.
GAME TWO: Zach Duke (2-4, 5.56) at Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.59)
Duke enters this series with the command on his fastball missing and is winless since April 10th, after starting the season 2-0. In half of his eight starts, he hasn’t gone past five innings. In his most recent start against Cincinatti, he went just five and giving up five runs. Along with his fastball struggles, he has also lost the reliability of his sinker. Lifetime, Duke is 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in four career starts against the Phillies. Current line up is batting .292 against Duke, going 14-48; one home run (Jayson Werth), six RBIs, and seven walks. Halladay is coming off an okay outing, going six and a third innings, throwing 121 pitches and earned the a no decision in a game the Phillies would lose in the 10th. Charlie Manuel explained Halladay had trouble getting a good grip on the ball, so that can be attributed to the off day from our ace. Halladay has had minimal experience against the Pirates who are batting .196 with 10 hits in 53 plate appearances.
Former Phillies Returning: Jack Taschner (2009)
Enjoy the series if you’re heading down to Bank. Monday is the first dollar dog night of the season. And as fate would have it Roy Halladay will pitch Tuesday on Roy Halladay Bobblehead Night. In addition for Tuesday’s game, plan to leave early or plan on sitting in traffic as the Flyers will play Game Two of the Eastern Conference Finals at 7:00 PM.