The Phillies can win a series and make it a successful week against the two Ohio teams if they’re victorious Sunday.
They’ll need to quickly put Saturday’s 10-0 embarrassment out of their minds. It was the sixth time they’ve been shut out this season, which is the most shutouts of the Phillies through their first 43 games since 1985, according to CSN’s Reuben Frank. The Phils were lifeless and again failed to hit junkballer Bronson Arroyo.
On Sunday, they’ll face a more traditional starter in Homer Bailey.
Bailey (2-3, 3.51) had his best game of the season, and probably his career, on April 16 vs. the Phillies. He pitched eight shutout innings and struck out 10 men on just 89 pitches. He became the third pitcher in major-league history to toss that many scoreless innings with that many strikeouts in fewer than 90 pitches; Jim Bunning (1964) and David Cone (1999) did it in their perfect games.
Bailey has a mid-90s fastball, a slider with tremendous vertical break, a curveball and splitter. Last season, when Bailey truly came into his own, his slider had more vertical movement than any pitcher in the majors, according to Baseball Prospectus.
Current Phillies are hitting .255 with a measly .330 slugging percentage off the hard-throwing Bailey, and the only player with a homer (Ryan Howard) is out of the lineup. The Phils are loading up with six lefties since right-handed hitters have batted .221/.282/.284 off Bailey this season.
Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.41) looks to continue his impressive work as an emergency starter. His performance earlier in the week against the Indians drew rave reviews from teammates.
Pettibone has allowed no more than three runs in any start. Where most young pitchers struggle – in high-pressure situations with men on base – he has thrived thus far. Opponents are hitting .172 against him with runners in scoring position and .178 with runners on, period.
The Reds are a dynamic offensive team, though, so Pettibone’s high strand rate will surely come into play Sunday. Can he afford to put Shin-Soo Choo and others at the top on base and get away with it? Hard to imagine with Joey Votto and Jay Bruce raking the way they are.
Votto hasn’t hit for much power in 2013 but has two towering home runs in this series. Bruce had a terrible April and leads the NL with 58 strikeouts, but is really heating up now. He has a nine-game hit streak and is 12 for 25 over his last six, with five doubles, two homers and nine RBIs.
Bruce continues to torture Phillies pitching. Since 2010 he’s hit .357 against them with eight doubles, nine homers and 28 RBIs in 113 at-bats.
Freddy Galvis has finally cracked the lineup – he’ll play third base and bat eighth. Michael Young makes his first start of the season away from the hot corner, subbing in for Howard at first.
Ben Revere is finally playing again after spending the week on the bench.
1) Jimmy Rollins, SS
2) Ben Revere, CF
3) Michael Young, 1B
4) Chase Utley, 2B
5) Domonic Brown, LF
6) Laynce Nix, RF
7) Carlos Ruiz, C
8) Freddy Galvis, 3B
9) Jonathan Pettibone, P