Phillies Blog – Davey and The Statman Contributors - Phillies blog will feature renowned Sports Handicapper Davey Sharpe and his partner Mike the Statman.  Combined they operate a successful sports handicapping business together and are both lifelong Phillies fans.

We’ve Got ‘High Hopes’!

That was the familiar ring that Phillies legendary broadcaster left us with.  And from what we are seeing out of this team – I can honestly say I have High Hopes.  Yes, they could be misplaced – as you look at the NL East standings and see us  4 games out.  But there are a LOT of positives coming together with this team.  As professional handicappers, Davey and The Statman were able to see this and accurately predict our clients take Phila the first 2 games of the LA Series. . . both nice underdog winners.  But I digress. . . .

Let’s work backwards through the series:

Last night, King Cole returned to the mound for the first time in 2014.  For his first outing, he looked excellent!!!  A very pleasant surprise.  Going against Greinke was unfortunate as runs would be at a premium.  Hamels 1 walk, 5K and 2 earned – certainly a nice looking line there.  He was pulled after his pitch count went into the 80’s – with Hamels protesting to be kept in, to no avail.  Unfortunately the weak spot of the team once again was the culprit in this loss.  Turning the game over in late innings to guys like Manship, Camp, Hollands, Rosenberg, etc. . . it doesn’t even matter their names.  You cannot be coming into the game – and giving up baserunners at the clip these men are.  Leadoff double to Greinke?  Really??  Hamels leave this game down 2-1.  The bullpen cannot keep the game in check to allow for a classic Phillies late inning comeback.  Inexcusable.  That game was winnable – I didn’t give the Phillies much of a chance with a rusty Hamels, vs a 3-0 Greinke – but it ended up being a very winnable game until it was turned over to our pen.

The first 2 games in the series were fun to watch, eh?  Burnett turning in a very strong performance in Tuesday night – with 3 hits (not a typo).  Giving up 2 earned, 5 k and only 1 walk through 6 and 2/3.  A great start AJ.  This guy is key for us.  We have starters that will win their share of games with Lee and Hamels.  If we can get AJ to deliver a quality season – wow, that will be huge for this team come May and June.  Brown delivered in the 10th with the go ahead RBI when he doubled in Ruiz.   Huge bright spot here – Diekman gets the final out in the 7th, Mike Adams making his 2nd appearance of the season pitched a perfect 8th, Bastardo pitched a perfect 9th –striking out 2 to get the W, and  JP closes it out for the save.  The above men will be the anchors of the pen this year.  They need to lead by example since the other part of the relief staff could be replaced at any time by anyone. . . even me.

As we blogged about prior – Lee was brilliant on Monday and Howard is definitely catching fire.  These are all very good things to see. 

There have been at least 3 winnable games in this short season thus far – and if we had a more consistent pen, we could be 1 game out or tie with Atlanta.  But I am pretty confident that this team will put things together and go on a nice run.  And I think the LA series into the AZ series will be a nice place to start. 

Tonight, Kendrick goes for the series win against LA – and against Dan Haren – so far this year striking out 26 while walking only 2.  However, Haren does not have recent success against our Phillies -   going back to 1997, he is 1-4 with an ERA over 5 – and his team’s record in all his starts vs Phila is 1-7.  So we think that Phila will need runs to win this game, so working Haren deep into the count and generating walks and baserunners will be key for the Phillies to get the series win in LA tonight. 

Check back Friday Morning, for a recap and a weekend preview of the upcoming series in Arizona.