The Phillies (34-22) continue their road trip in Pittsburgh this weekend, where they will play their Keystone State rivals, the Pirates (26-29).
Expected to return to the Phillies' active roster in time for the series opener is outfielder Shane Victorino, who has been sidelined with a right hamstring strain since May 19th. To make room for Victorino, the Phils will reportedly option OF/1B John Mayberry Jr. to the minors. Victorino went 2-for-13 with a HR in 4 minor league rehab games since last Saturday.
In the opener of the 3-game series, the Phillies will send their "fourth ace", Cole Hamels, who has won three straight starts, to the mound. Pittsburgh will counter with Jeff Karstens, who has spent time in the Pirates rotation and their bullpen this season.
Read ahead for more info on the pitching match ups and more key details for this series.
Friday, 7:05PM. Cole Hamels (7-2, 3.01 ERA) vs. Jeff Karstens (3-4, 3.58 ERA). In 4 career starts against the Pirates, Hamels is 1-1 with a 3.81 ERA. Hamels has a 4-0 record with a 2.31 ERA in 5 starts on the road this season. Andrew McCutchen is 3-for-9 (.333 avg) with a double and a HR in his career against Hamels. Karstens has no decisions with a 4.50 ERA in 3 games against the Phillies. In 6 home appearances this year, the righty Karstens has a 2-2 record with a 2.43 ERA. Raul Ibanez is 4-for-9 (.444 avg) in his career against Karstens.
Saturday, 7:05PM. Kyle Kendrick (3-3, 3.18 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (5-2, 2.51 ERA). In 4 career starts against the Pirates, Kendrick is 4-0 with a 2.61 ERA and a complete game. Kendrick has a 2-0 record with a 1.59 ERA in 7 road games this season. Kendrick has walked 13 batters while striking out just 12 batters in 28 1/3 innings pitched this season. In 4 home starts this season, the right-handed Morton is 1-1 with a 1.95 ERA. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-7 (.714 avg) in his career against Morton.
Sunday, 1:35PM. Roy Halladay (7-3, 2.56 ERA) vs. James McDonald (3-3, 4.85 ERA). In his last 5 starts, Halladay has a 2-2 record with a 3.07 ERA. In his only career start at PNC Park, Halladay threw 7 scoreless innings. McDonald has a 1-0 record with a 2.55 ERA in 4 home starts this season. In his last 7 starts, the righty hurler McDonald is 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA.
Jimmy Rollins has a .290 batting average and a .914 OPS in 27 career games at PNC Park.
In 14 career games against the Pirates, Raul Ibanez has a .196 batting average. Ibanez has an identical .246 average against both righty and lefty pitchers thus far in 2011.
Shane Victorino has a career .338 batting average in 25 games against the Pirates.
In 23 home games this season, Andrew McCutchen has posted a .198 batting average.
Neil Walker is 10-for-30 (.333 avg) during his current 7 game hitting streak. Walker is batting .265 in 22 home games this season.
Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan is 14-for-14 in save chances this season. In 19 career games against the Phillies, Hanrahan is 0-2 with 1 save, 1 blown save and a 3.10 ERA.
Phillies team ERA- 3.21
Pirates team ERA- 3.54
You can follow PhoulBallz on Twitter by clicking HERE.
You can also connect with PhoulBallz on Facebook by clicking HERE.