As the Marlins get ready to exact revenge for their earlier season series sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies starting tonight, we reached out to the editor of That Balls Outta Here, Mike Lacy, to get some insight on the NL basement dwellers, the Philadelphia Phillies. That Balls Outta Here is one of the great Fansided sites, and they specialize in covering the Phillies. Mike was kind enough to answer some questions that we had about the Phillies. Here was our conversation:
MM: Cole Hamels started the season on the DL, which obviously was a blow for the Phills. What’s the status of his health now?
Mike: In his last two starts, Hamels has given up 2 earned runs in 14 innings. He appears to be completely healthy and is pitching as well as ever.
MM: Is it safe to say that the Ryan Howard extension was the worst in Phillies history?
Mike: Howard was always going to be overpaid no matter how well he hit. Basically, any time you give a slugging first baseman an expensive long-term deal, he’s going to be overpaid. But there’s been an aspect of bad luck to the deal too, as he suffered a catastrophic injury just as the extension kicked in.
Still, in the end, results are results, and Howard has been getting paid a lot of money and hasn’t delivered that much production. So it would be hard to say that it isn’t the worst deal in team history.
MM: The Phillies currently sit in last in the NL East. Does this team have the firepower to turn things around?
Mike: I don’t think they’re a last place team. The starting pitching is going to keep them in most games, and they have several players in the lineup who have underachieved. I think a .500 record is the most likely outcome.
Mike: I doubt Chase Utley will ever be traded unless he demands it and the team is blown away by an offer. But aside from him, I could see just about anyone else on the team being shipped out assuming the team is very obviously out of it at the deadline. The Phillies have been sellers at the last two deadlines, so if they’re not in contention, it’s safe to say that at least a couple of guys are sent packing.
MM: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Marlins will face this series?
Mike: A.J. Burnett – He’s been pitching with a hernia for much of the season, but has still been effective. He’s had a few shaky starts where his control has been off, but for the most part, he’s been a good addition to the rotation.
Kyle Kendrick – Most Phillies fans are sick of the guy, and admittedly, his inconsistency can be maddening. But he generally does what you want your 4th starter to do: Pitch well enough to give the team a chance to win. He’s had a lot of problems in the first inning this season, and then settles in after that.
Cliff Lee – Maybe he’s not the elite ace he once was, but he’s still a pretty good starter with impeccable control. If not for an awful Opening Day start against the Rangers, his ERA would be under 3.00.
MM: Any bold predictions for the series? Can the Phills end the Marlins reign at Marlins Park?
Mike: The Phillies bats seem to be coming alive lately, and the pitching matchups are favorable. Despite the Marlins’ success at their home park, I’m going to say the Phillies take 2 out of 3.
There you have it. We want to thank Mike for giving us such great insight into the Phillies, and remember to check out That Balls Outta Here for all the latest Phillies’ news and notes. Mike also sent me some questions which I answered for her on TBHO. Check them out here.