After a 7-3 road trip, the home-weary Phillies, who are just 36-38 at Citizens Bank Park, look to take care of business against the last-place Cubs.
It may be a good thing the Phillies finish the season on the road at Washington and Florida. They have not played well at home, but have a seemingly easy test ahead of them this series against some less-than-stellar pitching (and I hate to say that because tomorrow's starter, Wade Miller, went to my high school).
The Phils send Jon Lieber (8-9, 4.87 ERA) to the mound to face his old employers. Lieber is 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA in three starts this month and 21-12 with a 3.88 ERA in September over his career. Those are his best numbers of any month. He’s pitched the Cubbies well lately, going 3-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his last three starts against them. Chicago was the site of his 20-win season back in 2001.
Rookie left-hander Sean Marshall (5-9, 5.34) goes for the Cubs. The Phillies are hitting just .254 against lefties this season, but Marshall has struggled of late. He’s 0-2 with a 7.54 ERA over his last five starts.
One player who enjoys home cooking is last night’s hero Mike Lieberthal, who’s hitting .366 with 5 homers and a 1.018 OPS at home. He’s out of tonight’s lineup, however, as Chris Coste gets the start. Lieberthal hit two homers in yesterday’s 6-4 win over Houston.
The Phillies are coming off a superb three-game sweep of the Astros and have climbed to within one game of the NL Wild Card. The Dodgers fell out of the NL West lead following yesterday's loss to San Diego.
Best of the press notes: Great gloves lately
The Phillies currently rank 6th in the NL with a .984 fielding percentage. However, since Aug. 1, the Phillies have the best fielding percentage in the NL at .989. They have made only 19 errors since Aug. 1, which the fewest in the league.
Not so bad against lefties after all
This one is surprising. As a team, the Phillies are 20-19 (.513) when a left-hander starts against them this year and 20-15 (.571) in their last 35 games against a lefty.