The 2014 season could be easily labeled a "disappointment" by most fans of the Phillies. Even with that phrasing, the team hasn't necessarily had a disappointing loss the last couple of weeks. Last night's contest filled that void. After jumping out to an early 6-2 lead behind Cliff Lee, the offense looked formidable once again, and it seemed Lee had regained some of his vigor. However, the Arizona Diamondbacks would come back to score four more before the ninth, and Lee would exit after throwing 85 pitches in five innings, allowing three total runs. Then, in extras, Antonio Bastardo had his second straight rough outing, allowing four runs, three on a home run, and handing Arizona the 10-6 victory. With the 4:00 PM trade deadline looming on Thursday, the players the team most likely would have traded have become questionable, at best.
Now, the two teams will have to take the field in a rubber match. One team will leave with the series victory, while the other heads into the week fifteen games under the .500 mark. Looking to be the stopper for the Phillies is Roberto Hernandez. Hernandez will appear in his 22nd game today, his 19th overall start. There are 93 qualified starters between the National and American Leagues, and of those 93, Hernandez ranks 91st in FIP with a 4.88. Accounting for the results the pitcher has any control over, FIP suggests that the nine year player is among the worst pitchers in keeping a good balance of home runs, walks, strikeouts, and hit by pitches. SIERA, an even more complex level of pitcher ranking, places Hernandez 90th. While A.J. Burnett continues to lead the league in walks (62), Hernandez still ranks in the top three (54).
Vidal Nuno made his major league debut with the New York Yankees just last season. Just two weeks ago, Nuno was a part of the trade that sent starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy to the Yankees. Since joining the Arizona ballclub, Nuno has made three starts, each less impressive than the one before it. His debut with the team was a seven inning, no-run performance against the Miami Marlins. Five days later, the south paw surrendered four runs in five innings against the San Francisco Giants. Finally, on the 21st of this month, Nuno was responsible for three runs, including two home runs and seven hits, in 4.2 innings of work. It will be the first appearance of his career against the Phillies.
- Even with the left-hander Nuno on the mound, Ryne Sandberg has put Ryan Howard back in the lineup starting at first base. In last night's game, Big Piece went 2-for-5 with a couple of strikeouts and a walk.
- Aside from Jake Diekman and Ken Giles, the Phillies bullpen has been quite head-shaking the last fourteen days. De Fratus, Papelbon, Bastardo, Hollands, and Manship (before his release), have a combined ERA of 8.31 in their last fourteen days of work, including blown saved credited to both Papelbon and Hollands. De Fratus is leading the crew with twelve total strikeouts in that period.
- Darin Ruf gets the start over Domonic Brown in left field for today's game. While Brown continued his modest hitting streak with a base knock last night, Ruf has only three hits in limited work this season. Last year, Ruf hit .247 with 14 home runs and 36 RBIs for the Phillies in 73 games.
- Grady Sizemore and Carlos Ruiz get a day of rest this afternoon.
- Ben Revere CF
- Jimmy Rollins SS
- Chase Utley 2B
- Ryan Howard 1B
- Marlon Byrd RF
- Darin Ruf LF
- Cody Asche 3B
- Wil Nieves C
- Roberto Hernandez P
- Ender Inciarte CF
- David Peralta LF
- Paul Goldschmidt 1B
- Miguel Montero C
- Martin Prado 3B
- Gerardo Parra RF
- Didi Gregorius 2B
- Nick Ahmed SS
- Vidal Nuno
Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Weather: 87° F - Partly Cloudy - 0% PoP
Game Time: 1:35 PM Eastern
Andrew Gillen, Managing Editor of Philliedelphia.com