Todd Zolecki of the Inquirer wrote half my blog entry this morning on the issue of getting the bats clicking on the road, but that’s only one ghost they’ll face when they begin a six-game road trip tonight in Los Angeles.
This is another dreaded West Coast series in a vast ballpark, where the Phils tend to play small and overwhelmed. They’re poor sluggers away from the Bank anyway, with a .363 SLG to go with a .251 BA.
Dodger Stadium will play a little like McAfee Stadium in Oakland. Dodger Stadium has been an easier place to hit home runs this season (ranked 15th in baseball) but its the sixth hardest venue to score runs, according to ESPN park factors.
There’s also the issue of facing pitchers that have the Phils in their book. It’s the Tomo Ohka effect: a marginally good pitcher that hooks them once and they can’t shake free. Ohka is a lifetime 5-3 with a 2.38 ERA and .227 BA against verses the Phils, while the rest of baseball is batting .280 against him.
The Phils will face
two three tough hombres this series: Brad Penny tonight, Derek Lowe on Wednesday at Odalis Perez on Thursday, all better pitchers than Ohka.
Penny has better-than-average lifetime numbers against the Phils, holding them to a .246 BA over his career.
It’s the same story with Lowe, holding the Phils to a lifetime .257 BA against, including seven tough innings and a win against them back on July 20.
And don't forget tough left-hander Odalis Perez, who shut out the Phils in the Thursday BP special that series.
I don’t like the Phils against sinkerball pitchers like Lowe and Chicago’s Carlos Zambrano, who mixed in a number of breaking balls to keep the Phils off balance a week ago. Penny also throws a heavy fastball. It's almost like the players aren't prepped to face pitchers like this.
The game starts at 10:10 p.m. I’ll be in bed.