Both the Phillies (91-48) and the Brewers (85-59) have considerable leads over their nearest division rival and have shown no signs of slowing down as they approach the 2011 post-season. In fact, the two teams could meet in approximately three weeks once the National League playoffs get rolling.
Milwaukee took 2 of 3 games when these teams met in Philadelphia back in April, but with the best record in the Majors, the Phillies will hope to prevent another series loss at the hands of the club that is considered their best challenger for the right to play in the Fall Classic. It will be a tall task, as the Brewers are proud owners of the best home record in all of baseball (50-19).
In the four-game series opener on Thursday at Miller Park, the Phillies will send lefty Cole Hamels, who has posted a 2.31 ERA in his last four starts against the Brew Crew, to the mound. Milwaukee will counter with left-hander Chris Narveson, who will make his first start in more than two weeks, after being sidelined with a finger issue on his throwing hand.
Chase Utley, who was hit in the batting helmet by a pitch by Atlanta's Eric O'Flaherty on Wednesday, is not with the Phillies in Milwaukee, as he stayed behind in Philadelphia to visit with a concussion specialist. Utley was removed from the game after experiencing a head ache. To fill the void, the Phils have activated Jimmy Rollins from the disabled list, although the switch-hitting shortstop will play only in an emergency situation on Thursday. Rollins had been out of action since August 22nd with a groin strain.
Read ahead for more details on the pitching match ups as well as loads more details on this series.
Thursday, 8:10 PM. Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.63 ERA) vs. Chris Narveson (10-6, 4.26 ERA). In his last 4 road starts, Hamels has a 1-0 record with a 2.25 ERA. Hamels has a 4-2 record with a 3.66 ERA in 8 career regular season starts against the Brewers. Opponents are batting .210 against Hamels this season. In 12 home games this year, Narveson has posted a 6-2 record with a 3.76 ERA. Narveson is 4-0 with a 2.80 ERA in his last 7 outings. Shane Victorino is 3-for-6 with a HR against Narveson in his career.
Friday, 8:10 PM. Roy Halladay (16-5, 2.49 ERA) vs. Shaun Marcum (12-5, 3.11 ERA). In 3 starts against Milwaukee, Halladay is 1-2 with a 6.41 ERA. Halladay is 3-0 with a 2.59 ERA in his last 5 road starts. In 9 starts since the All-star break, Halladay is 5-2 with a 2.58 ERA. Prince Fielder is 6-for-10 (.600 avg) with 2 doubles and a HR in his career against Halladay. In 4 career starts against the Phillies, Marcum has a 2-0 record with a 2.37 ERA. Marcum is 2-2 with a 1.04 ERA over his last 5 starts. Shane Victorino is 0-for-9 in his career against Marcum.
Saturday, 7:10 PM. Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.47 ERA) vs. Randy Wolf (12-9, 3.47 ERA). Over his last 7 starts, Lee is 7-0 with a 0.98 ERA. In 12 road starts this season, Lee is 5-5 with a 3.18 ERA. Jerry Hairston Jr. is 2-for-16 (.125 avg) in his career against Lee. In 14 home starts this year, Wolf has a 7-3 record with a 3.46 ERA. When Wolf faced the Phillies in April, he held them scoreless for 6 innings. Jimmy Rollins is 5-for-13 (.385 avg) with a HR in his career against the lefty Wolf.
Sunday, 2:10 PM. Vance Worley (11-1, 2.85 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (15-10, 3.71 ERA). In 10 road games this year, Worley is 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA. The Phillies have won the last 14 games started by the rookie Worley. Gallardo is 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA in 14 home starts this season. In his last 2 starts, Gallardo is 0-2 with a 9.27 ERA...both starts were against the Cardinals. Hunter Pence is 6-for-25 (.240 avg) with a double and a triple in his career against Gallardo.
In 25 regular season contests at Miller Park, Jimmy Rollins is a .204 hitter. Rollins is batting .290 in 60 road games this year, compared to his .245 average in 61 home games.
Hunter Pence, in 36 career games at Miller Park has a .293/.353/.493 line. Pence has a .308 average and a .906 OPS through 34 games with the Phillies.
Raul Ibanez has posted a .197 batting average and .558 OPS in 58 road games this year, compared to his .293 average and .870 OPS in 65 home games.
Righty reliever John Axford is perfect in 26 save opportunities and sports a 1.38 ERA in 39 games at Miller Park this season. Opponents are batting .176 against Axford in 24 outings since the All-star break.
Ryan Braun has a .369 batting average in 25 career regular season games against the Phillies. Braun's .332 average is second best in the National League.
Prince Fielder is tied with Ryan Howard for the National League lead in RBI with 108. Fielder's OPS at home this season is 1.046, compared to his .857 mark on the road.
Phillies team batting average- .254
Brewers team batting average- .262
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