Left-handers Cole Hamels (7-1, 2.17) and Jon Niese (3-2, 4.29) open an important divisional series at Citi Field Monday beginning 1:10 p.m. But the big story continues to be the disclosure of the cranky right shoulder of Roy Halladay.
Beerleaguer: Well ... yeah. Did anyone honestly believe Doc was pitching pain free? Compare the data with 2011 all you like. Go ahead an bury your head in data. But anyone watching can plainly see he hasn't been the same all season. Scouts have reportedly said this for months. Drastically fewer two-seamers. A strange mix of pitches. A significant dip in velocity. And the simple fact that he's been getting pounded. Give him an MRI now; why wait? Read between the lines of Rich Dubee's quotes and you'll understand that he's been pitching through pain for a while. If he's broken, why wait to fix him?
To a much lesser degree, it's also evident that Chad Qualls (knee) isn't right, either, although he's old and marginal anyway. There's absolutely nothing on his pitches. The Qualls injury surfaced around the same time Laynce Nix went on the disabled list.
In terms of replacements for Doc, keep your eye on Dave Bush (4-3, 2.73), who pitches tonight against Julio Teheran (4-2, 2.98) in Triple-A Gwinnett. Bush, the former Brewer, reportedly has an opt-out clause and the Phillies would be wise to keep their depth with injuries to Doc and also Vance Worley. With Thursday's off day, Bush could slot into Doc's spot on regular rest. As for Qualls, they could try the Michael Schwimer experiment again - Schwimer continues to pitch great at Triple-A, but still hasn't been able to make the jump.
Brown report: Dom Brown started in center field for the fourth straight game for the IronPigs Sunday, had two hits for the second straight game, a first-inning single and a fourth-inning double high off the wall in right field, the Morning Call reports. He also botched a second-inning single that led to an unearned run, but later made a diving catch to end the seventh, the story goes on to say. [Link]