The Phillies have a tough task at hand when they face Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals this afternoon.
The reigning National League Cy Young award winner has had a nearly perfect spring, going 2-0 with a 1.01 ERA in six spring starts. The 30-year-old right-hander went 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA last season, but was roughed up hard by the Phillies. Back on April 10, he was shelled for 8 runs in 3 1-3 innings, and on May 18, gave up 3 runs in 6 innings.
Otherwise, he was outstanding. Still one of the most underrated pitchers in the game, he is the winningest pitcher of the last two seasons, going 36-10 (.783 winning percentage).
Jimmy Rollins will be looking to extend his hitting streak to 37 games. He is 4-14 (.286) lifetime against Carpenter.
Along with Carpenter, the Cardinals pitching staff had a superb spring, posting a 3.65 ERA, second among NL teams.
Former Phillie Scott Rolen is back after an injury-shortened 2005. He had a good spring, going 16-49 (.327) with no signs to indicate his shoulder still bothered him.
Today's game could also feature the Phillies debut of David Dellucci, acquired Saturday in a deal that sent Robinson Tejeda to Texas. Dellucci hit .300 this spring with five homers.