Independance Day Massacre

This was the perfect weekend for a Phillies fan. In the midst of the barbecuing, drinking, partying, and spending time with the family and friends on America’s birthday, the Phillies invited the Mets to the Bank for a home-cooked butt-whupping.

The Phillies swept the Mets, their first sweep since June 1-3 and first home series win since they swept the Nationals on May 29-31. It was complete pitching dominance as they held the Mets to a total of three runs all series. The offense came alive when needed and the pitching was absolutely incredible. It was the exact opposite of the series prior in Atlanta where the pitching sucked, the offense disappeared and the bull pen couldn’t keep games close.

Friday – Phillies won 7-2: Rodrigo Lopez made his season debut, going 6 1/2 innings and surrendering his two runs in the seventh. He allowed six hits and a walk and struck out four. Jimmy Rollins sparked the offense with a pair of doubles and two RBI’s. Chase Utley also had two hits and two RBI’s and Jayson Werth provided the fireworks with a solo homer.

Saturday – Phillies won 4-1: It was a very happy 4th of July as Jamie Moyer dominated the Mets AAA offense in his 600th career start. Moyer went 6 1/3 as he gave up a run on five hits and a walk. He also sat down one batter en route to his team high seventh win of the season. Rollins again helped provide some offense with a two-run double in the fourth. Brad Lidge notched the save.

Sunday – Phillies won 2-0: There was no hang over for the Phillies as Joe Blanton took the mound and pitched 7 1/3 shut out ball. He allowed four hits and three walks with five strike outs. The two solo homers by Rollins and Utley were all Blanton needed. Lidge came in the ninth and struck out the side to record his 16th save.

It’s a proven fact that when Rollins is hitting and getting on base, the offense will follow suit. He is the spark plug this team needs him to be. He’s a risk/reward kind of player which can be extremely frustrating or extremely pleasing. I will admit that I was quick to jump on Rollins but he is not out of the hole yet. I still think that when he is not producing, he needs to be dropped. Hopefully he continues to tear up offenses and sets himself up for another magical second half much like his MVP season in 2007.

Series MVP’s:
Jimmy Rollins (PHI): 5-11; 2 runs; 3 doubles; homer; 3 walks; .571 OBP
Brad Lidge (PHI): 2 innings; 0 hits; 5 K’s; 2 saves
Starting Pitching (PHI): 20 innings; 3 runs; 15 hits; 11 K’s

Next Series: Cincinnatti Reds (40-40; 20-20 on road) @ Philadelphia Phillies (42-37; 16-22 at home)

Phillies lead series 2-1. The Reds are a weird team. They may be playing .500 ball but that doesn’t necessarily make them a good baseball team. Phillies should not lose this series, especially after the series they played versus the Mets. I expect three wins coming out of this series to go into the final series of the first half. A sweep would be fantastic and should hopefully give them a cushion in the division standings.

Currently the Marlins are still breathing down the Phillies necks, only a game out of first. The sweep of the Mets put them four games ahead. As the temperature heats up, so should the Phillies.

Pitching Probables:
7/6: Cueto (8-4, 2.69), Hamels (4-5, 4.98)
7/7: Harang (5-8, 3.86), Happ (5-0, 2.96)
7/8: Bailey, H (1-0, 5.94), Lopez, Ro (1-0, 2.84)
7/9: Owings (6-8, 4.48), Moyer (7-6, 5.72)

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