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Blogging about the 5x NL East Champion Phillies

Tag Archives: NL Central

Season Preview: NL Central

Co-written by John Russo and Chris Bengel

Expectations: No Pujols, no problem…. wait, you mean we have to rely on Matt Holliday now? Oh crap!
Key Addition: OF Carlos Beltran (signed from San Francisco)
Key Loss: 1B Albert Pujols (signed with LA Angels)
Projected Record: 90-72
Summary: St. Louis knows they lost a huge bat in Albert Pujols to the Angels. They also know they are expecting a lot out of Lance Berkman to have a repeat performance of last season as well as Matt Holliday to be the leader of the offense.

That is why St. Louis brought in Carlos Beltran to take some of the strain off Holliday and Berkman this season, hoping the 34-year-old can stay healthy and revive his career in St. Louis.

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MLB News: Astros to AL West in 2013

In a tweet by Matt Gelb under an hour ago, it was brought to some attention that the Houston Astros will be moving to the American League West in 2013.

The two league’s don’t carry an even amount of teams, with the National League boasting 16 teams and AL having 14 to keep a balance within league play. But with the change, the NL Central, which holds six teams, will lose the Astros, who will be going to the four-team AL West.

This move will also create 30 interleague games for teams in 2013.

It will be interesting to see how this move affects interleague play, especially when it comes down to the designated hitter rule. NL teams will now be designing their bench around those 30 games, giving the NL teams either a good fielder to replace a slugger in the line up so they can DH or a designated hitter-type bench player that’s usually used in pinch-hitting situations.

RELEVANT LINKS

CBS has more on the Astros’ apparent move, which will be made official by tomorrow. This is also coming in the wake of a new owner for the Astros coming into fruition. All of this has been talked about the last six weeks.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch weighs in on why this is a good idea for baseball.

Phils Land Pence

After months of talk about adding a right-handed bat, the Phillies have finally added the piece that will put them over the top.

Pence provides the right-handed bat that the Phillies have coveted. (Photo by Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Reports are saying that the Phillies have landed Houston Astros outfielder Hunter Pence. In exchange for Pence, the team will be sending pitching prospect Jarred Cosart and first baseman Jonathan Singleton and two lesser prospect to be named later.

The deal was made without parting with Domonic Brown or Vance Worley, two popular fan-favorites.

There had been talk for the last week that the Phillies were interested in acquiring Pence. The pursuit had really kicked up a notch over the last two days as the team had made it clear that they would do just about anything to acquire Pence.

They are getting a player in Pence that is hitting .309 with 11 home runs and 62 RBIs. He has also scored 49 runs and added seven stolen bases.

He is a career .290 hitter and has hit 25 home runs each year from 2008-2010. Pence also has 56 outfield assists, proving that he is an above average defender.

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Series Preview: vs. Milawaukee Brewers

PHI: 10-4, 1st in NL East; MIL: 7-8, 4th in NL Central

When: April 18-20
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)

Probable Pitchers
Monday: Joe Blanton (0-1, 10.45) vs Shaun Marcum (2-1, 2.55)
Tuesday:
Roy Halladay (2-0, 1.23) vs Randy Wolf (1-2, 4.32)
Wednesday:
Cliff Lee (2-1, 4.19) vs Chris Narveson (2-1, 1.45)

Broadcast Info
Monday, 7:05, PHL 17

Tuesday, 7:05, CSN
Wednesday, 1:05, CSN
All Games on 1210 AM

Player to Watch1B Prince Fielder: Fielder is off to one of the hottest starts in baseball, hitting .321 with four homers and 16 RBIs through 15 games. But that’s something to expect from Fielder, who has always consistently been one of the top hitting first basemen in the game.

There is a lot of boom in Prince Fielders bat. That can be a huge factor in a hitters park like CBP.

Fielder is also a monster against the Phillies, especially at CBP. In 32 games against the Phils, Fielder is hitting .339 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs. At the stadium, Fielder has an average of .345 with five homers and 14 RBIs in 17 games.

With Joe Blanton pitching today, Fielder could have himself a game. It will be interesting to see his match up against Cliff Lee on Wednesday.

Overview: The Brewers are off to a mediocre start, especially for a team considered to compete in the NL Central. But it’s still very early in the season to write anyone off (especially Boston).

They are led by Fielder as mentioned above and one of the best young players in the game in Ryan Braun. Braun is leading the team with a .329 average as well as hitting four homers and driving in nine RBIs.

They also have speed demons 2B Rickie Weeks, CF Carlos Gomez and OF bench player Nyjer Morgan.

The Phillies are still off to a very strong start offensively, especially when the bats were questioned before the season. Placido Polanco has been on a tear, hitting .373 with a homer and 12 RBIs from the two-spot. Ryan Howard has also been good to start off the season though he’s tapered off the past few games, hitting .288 with three homers and a team-high 14 RBIs.

Pitching this series again favors the Phils heavily as they have their two best pitchers going. Milwaukee is still without their newly acquired ace Zach Grienke, who is on the DL until early May.

The Phils have also dropped the first game of the past four series and with Blanton on the hill tonight, a fifth is likely if the offense doesn’t show up.

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