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Philadelphia Phillies Series Preview: 5 Questions with The Good Phight

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The Brewers fared well against the defending World Series champions when the faced them last year. Randy Wolf looks to break the awful home losing streak tonight.

 

2009 vs. Phillies: 4-2; 33 runs scored, 28 runs allowed.

 

Phillies Probable Starters (in order):

  • Jamie Moyer (2009 vs. Brewers: 1 GS, 1-0, 5.40 ERA, 5 SO, 2 BB, 2 HR allowed)
  • Joe Blanton (2009 vs. Brewers: 2 GS, 1-1, 6.17 ERA, 6 SO, 3 BB, 3 HR allowed)
  • Cole Hamels (2009 vs. Brewers: 1 GS, 0-1, 5.40 ERA, 6 SO, 0 BB, 1 HR allowed)

Brewers Probable Starters (in order):

 

  • Randy Wolf (2009 vs. Phillies: 2 GS, 1-1, 5.11  ERA, 12 SO, 4 BB, 3 HR allowed)
  • Chris Narveson (2010 3GS, 3-0, 5.06 ERA, 23 SO, 13 BB, 3 HR allowed)
  • Doug Davis (2009 vs. Phillies: 1 GS, 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 6 SO, 4 BB, 1 HR allowed)

Follow the jump for The Good Phight's answers to my questions. They didn't send me any questions, so it's a one-sided question and answer session this time.

 

BCB: The Ryan Howard contract - yay or nay? It's the measuring stick that will be used in determining the free agent value of Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez, among others. Are you happy that the team tied him up or concerned about the length of time you are committed to him?

Very concerned.  It's hard for me as a fan to separate my personal affinity for Ryan Howard and what he's done for this team with the actuarial reality that he's likely to start falling off pretty badly around the middle of the contract.  He's overrated, yes, but that's not the same thing as "bad."  He's likely to be a net-positive player for most or all of the deal but I just hope it doesn't hamstring the team's ability to keep its other quality players around... speaking of which.

BCB: Jayson Werth is putting up some of the best numbers of his career, but he's not a young man. His contract is up at the end of the season. Do you see him staying with Philadelphia? Do you want him to? He'll likely command a contract similar to the $17 million Matt Holliday received from St. Louis. The $7 million he's earning this season is already fourth highest on the team. Can the Phillies afford him?

As much as I'd like him to stick around for personal reason, as he's my favorite player on the team (not to be confused with the best player, who is Chase Utley), but I really doubt he's going to be with the Phillies next year.  Aside from the money issues, the Phillies have right fielder Domonic Brown, one of the top prospects in baseball, tearing apart Double-A pitching right now.  In light of the ease of replacement of Mr. Werth, and the low-cost reality of that situation, I expect he'll get a nice sendoff after this year.

BCB: MLB.com doesn't have probably pitchers up for the Phillies for Sunday or Monday, Joe Blanton is making just his third start of th season today, Cole Hamels can't find the plate and Jamie Moyer is throwing complete games. Break it down for us - What's going on with your rotation?


What looked like a solid top-to-bottom rotation fell apart early in the spring, "best laid plans" style.  J.A. Happ has "forearm tightness," and Blanton had a strained oblique.  Blanton is still getting up to speed, and Happ's replacement -- Kyle Kendrick -- has been erratic at best.

His start this Sunday aside, when his command was terrible, Cole Hamels has done pretty OK so far, insofar as controlling the aspects of the game that are in his power.  His strikeout rate is at or near a career best, but he's still surrendering too many homers.

Thank goodness for Roy Halladay.


BCB: The Phillies are fielding basically the same team that has been to the World Series the past two seasons. What could keep them from getting back there in 2010?


Injuries, and bad luck.  This has already been a much worse season than 2008 and 2009 combined on the health front, with Jimmy Rollins, Joe Blanton, Brad Lidge, J.C. Romero, and J.A. Happ all missing significant time.  And now starting catcher Carlos Ruiz is injured.  They've been resilient so far, but one team can only withstand so much.

Getting to the postseason, and winning there, are two different things.  If Brett Myers doesn't draw that walk off C.C. Sabathia in Game Two of the NLDS in 2008, who knows how that series would have turned out?  Small events have a way of leading to profound outcomes in the playoffs.  You put your best team on the field and hope for the best, really.

 

BCB: While the Phillies have a starting rotation that makes Brewers fans weep in envy, the bullpen is lacking, especially with Madson out after having toe surgery. Will Jamie Moyer have to continue to throw complete games in order to ensure a win? I hear Joe Blanton's losses can almost entirely blamed on the bullpen. How does this affect the season?



Jose Contreras has been outstanding so far, and is likely to be the de facto closer while Brad Lidge continues to suffer from elbow problems and Madson recovers from surgery.  Chad Durbin has been dancing through raindrops with middling stuff, but the rest of the bullpen is pretty horrendous. 

Bullpen disasters are aggravating, but this team made it to the sixth game of the World Series with the worst closer in baseball history on the roster.  If they can survive the injury mess, they can survive this too.