But imagine what a successful trip to St. Louis could do for these 2013 Phils.
You’d have to think Ruben Amaro Jr. would be awfully impressed with his team if it could take two of three games from the MLB-best Cardinals (59-37) without Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels toeing the rubber.
And not only would it dissuade Amaro’s thoughts of selling, but it sure would also serve as a morale booster for a unit with its fate up in the air as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.
However, thinking is much easier than doing, and that rings particularly true when facing a St. Louis team that does so many things right.
The Cardinals hit .338 with runners in scoring position and .325 with runners in scoring position and two outs — both tops in baseball. The next closest is the Tigers at .289 and .277, respectively. Meanwhile, the Phillies have hit .252 and .238 in those situations.
St. Louis hurts opposing pitchers by attacking early in counts and not giving in late. The Cardinals have the third-most first-pitch hits in baseball (160), and they also lead the National League in runs scored (477), batting average (.276) and on-base percentage (.337), while their starting pitching staff sports baseball’s second-best ERA (3.34).
So, the Phils have their hands full.
Jonathan Pettibone (5-3, 3.89) gets the first crack at St. Louis in the three-game set and he opposes Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller (9-6, 2.92).
Tuesday marks Pettibone’s biggest start of his major-league career. The rookie must overcome his road woes (5.65 ERA) and a significant key to that will be avoiding an early lull. Pettibone has a first-inning ERA of 6.75 that spells trouble against an aggressive Cardinals lineup. But overall, Pettibone has been a major bonus for the Phillies, allowing three or fewer earned runs in 13 of his 16 starts.
Miller, a fellow rookie, has come back to earth a bit after a smoking start. In his first 12 outings, the 22-year-old was 7-3 with a 1.91 ERA, but since: 5.52 ERA over six starts.
Still, Miller has been strong, is working on 12 days rest and owns a home ERA of 1.93 this season.
And, the Phillies have never seen him.
Savery to DL, Valdes recalled
Reliever Joe Savery has been placed on the 15-day DL with left elbow inflammation. To fill his spot, the Phillies recalled lefty Raul Valdes from Triple A Lehigh Valley.
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Michael Young, 3B
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Domonic Brown, LF
5. Delmon Young, RF
6. Darin Ruf, 1B
7. John Mayberry Jr., CF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Jonathan Pettibone, P
1. Matt Carpenter, 2B
2. Jon Jay, CF
3. Carlos Beltran, RF
4. Allen Craig, LF
5. Yadier Molina, C
6. Matt Adams, 1B
7. David Freese, 3B
8. Pete Kozma, SS
9. Shelby Miller, P