More tough pitching is on tap this afternoon when the Phillies and Braves play the rubber game of their weekend set beginning at 1:35. Roy Halladay (5-3, 2.05) and Tim Hudson (4-3, 3.09) are slated.
Injury updates: The Phils suffered their first day-game loss Saturday in a 5-3, three-hit stifling at the hands of Jair Jurrjens. During the game, Shane Victorino became the latest Phillie to blow a gasket. The Phillies center fielder was taken out of the game with right hamstring soreness and is expected to miss today's finale. He's considered day-to-day. The Phils are fortunate that his injury doesn't appear serious. Domonic Brown would have been a logical roster replacement, but he's out with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament of his right thumb and he's expected to miss up to a week. Meanwhile, Carlos Ruiz, who is being eased back into the mix and sat out yesterday, is expected to start today. As for Joe Blanton, the Phils will see how his elbow responds after Saturday's five-inning start. The right-hander was pulled after 74 pitches and appears to be less than 100 percent. Elsewhere in Florida, Chase Utley took the day off and will be back in Clearwater's lineup Sunday in Bradenton.
Offensive update: Since April 8, the Phillies are averaging just 3.78 R/G including Saturday's three-run effort. However, their 4.32 R/G on the season rates fifth in the National League as run production continues to be at a premium across baseball. The Phils have a couple guys in RBI leader Ryan Howard and .347 hitter Placido Polanco who rate highly in old-school stats, but the Phils are generally MIA in many of the new-school metics like wOBA. Overall, I'd observe the Phils are still above average in run scoring because they've been more opportunistic than not in their scoring chances, making lesser opponents like the Nationals and Mets pay for mistakes. They've also had decent production off the bench. It's all part of the game.
Young bullpen: I wanted to chime in on Friday's win, which was another nice showing by the young bullpen in pressure situations. You've gotta love the ability of Antonio Bastardo, Mike Stutes and Vance Worley to pick up big strikeouts. It's going to be interesting to see what the Phillies do when Roy Oswalt and Jose Contreras are ready to return from the disabled list. Scott Mathieson will be the first to go, but after that, it gets tough. There will be no shortage of work should the Phils decide to keep Worley around and turn him into Chad Durbin, a role that Danys Baez has not been able to fill. The home-grown 'pen is one of the nicest surprises of the season.
Minor notes: In case you missed it, the Camden Riversharks signed Pedro Feliz, who was arguably the least-productive starting player in baseball last season. He hit just .218/.240/.293 over 429 plate appearances last season. I believe somewhere, in a comments thread maybe, Beerleaguer predicted he'd be relegated to the independent leagues this season. … In Allentown, right-hander Brian Bass pitched just the third complete game in IronPigs history Friday night. It followed a two-inning, eight-run drubbing in his previous start. … David Herndon earned the win with three shutout innings Saturday in the Pigs' 8-7 win over Norfolk. Catcher Erik Kratz hit his sixth homer. … Reading Eagle beat writer Mike Drago profiles right-hander Austin Hyatt today, who is 5-1 with a 3.18 ERA at 37/12 K/BB in 39 2-3 innings. The 24-year-old notched 181 strikeouts between Clearwater and Reading last season. He's not overpowering, but has good off-speed stuff. In other Reading news, Paco Figueroa, who was recently acquired in a trade with Baltimore for future considerations, is off to a slow start (5-for-27) as the club's new second baseman. Harold Garcia, who had been the starter, is out for the season with a torn ACL.