As the core of Philadelphia's highly regarded pitching staff has shined in their most recent outings, it will be up to the team's often forgotten fifth starter Joe Blanton to keep things rolling as the Phillies (10-4) host the Brewers (7-8) for a 3-game series.
Blanton's struggles have been clear in the early going this season. His 10.45 ERA over two starts sits a great distance away from the combined 2.96 ERA of the other four starting pitchers (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels), over their 12 starts.
In the series opener, Milwaukee will counter with their top hurler, righty Shaun Marcum, who was acquired last off-season in a trade with Toronto. Marcum recorded a victory over the Phillies last year, while with the Blue Jays, as he allowed just 1 earned run and struck out 6 batters in 6 innings of work.
The Phillies won five of the six meetings between these two teams last season.
Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups and plenty more statistical information on this series.
Monday, 7:05PM. Shaun Marcum (2-1, 2.55 ERA) vs. Joe Blanton (0-1, 10.45 ERA). Marcum threw 7 scoreless innings against the Pirates in his last outing. In 3 career starts against the Phillies, Marcum is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA. Ryan Howard is 2-for-3 against Marcum with 2 homeruns. Blanton's start was pushed back after the Phillies were rained out on Saturday. In 4 career starts against Milwaukee, Blanton is 2-1 with a 5.61 ERA. In 39 career regular season games at Citizens Bank Park, Blanton has a 14-6 record with a 4.12 ERA. Yuniesky Betancourt is 11-for-31 (.355 avg) with a 1.039 OPS in his career against Blanton.
Tuesday, 7:05PM. Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.32 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (2-0, 1.23 ERA). Wolf, a former Phillie, is 10-7 with a 4.24 ERA in 28 career starts at Citizens Bank Park. Carlos Ruiz is 5-for-8 (.625 avg) with 3 doubles, a HR and 3 walks in his career against Wolf. In 2 career starts against the Brewers, Halladay is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA. Prince Fielder, the only active Brewer with a HR off of Halladay, is 3-for-6 (.500 avg) in his career against him. Righty opponents are batting .154 against Halladay thus far in 2011.
Wednesday, 1:05PM. Chris Narveson (1-0, 1.45 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-1, 4.19 ERA). Narveson, a left-hander, allowed 4 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings in his only start against Philadelphia. In 19 road games (14 starts) last year, Narveson posted a 7-4 record with a 4.70 ERA. In Lee's only start against the Brewers, he allowed 7 earned runs in 6 innings pitched and took the loss. Lee threw a complete game shut out against the Nationals in his last start.
Rickie Weeks leads the Brewers in homeruns, with 4. Weeks is 1-for-12 (.083 avg) in his career against Blanton and Halladay. He has not faced Lee.
Milwaukee closer John Axford has an 8.44 ERA thus far in 6 appearances this season. He has an .067 batting average against in 4 career appearances against the Phillies.
In 22 career games against Philadelphia, Ryan Braun has 7 HR, 15 RBI and a .352 batting average.
Placido Polanco is a combined 10-for-22 (.454 avg) in his career against the Brewers' three scheduled starters for this series.
In 7 career games against the Brewers, Phillies reliever Jose Contreras has a 0.00 ERA.
Ben Francisco is a .125 career hitter in 7 games against Milwaukee. In 8 home games this season, Francisco is batting .345 and has a .992 OPS.
Brewers team batting average- .255
Phillies team batting average- .296
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