Phils Go Broom Happy

The Philadelphia Phillies are officially hotter than a July afternoon in Miami. Winners of 12 of their last 13 games and currently on an eight-game winning streak that extended before the All Star break, the Phillies have showed no signs of cooling down. They also improved their remarkable league best 29-15 road record. Despite Saturday’s game being postponed, the Phillies still earned the series sweep over the Marlins winning the three games that got played.

Thursday – Phillies won 4-0: Jamie Moyer pitched seven scoreless innings and surrendered only one hit and one walk as he continued his dominance of the Marlins. Moyer is now 13-2 lifetime versus Florida and 8-0 in Miami. Raul Ibanez hit two homers with three RBI’s and Ryan Howard hit his 200th career homer to produce all of the Phillies’ offense.

Friday – Phillies won 6-5: A rain delay shortened Cole Hamels’ solid start and the bull pen nulled him of the decision as they continued to struggle. After giving up the 4-1 lead in the seventh and eighth, the Phillies got two big runs in the top of the 12th because Brad Lidge surrendered one in the bottom half but held on to get his 19th save.

Sunday – Phillies won 5-0: Jimmy Rollins sparked the offense, going 3-5 and falling a homer shy of the cycle. He drove in a run on a double in a three-run third. JA Happ continued his bid to stay in Philly and not be traded for Roy Halladay with his stellar performance. He went seven scoreless innings, giving up five hits and a walk while sitting down four. Ibanez also had a couple of RBI’s.

This series was a huge win for the Phillies. Even though a four-game sweep would have been nice, three his not bad either and it really helped them stretch their lead in the NL division to 6.5 games over Atlanta, 7 over Florida, and 9 over New York.

Series MVP’s:
Jimmy Rollins: 6-16, 3 runs, 2 doubles, triple, RBI
Raul Ibanez: 5-10, 3 runs, double, 2 HR, 5 RBI
JA Happ: 7 IP, 0 R, 5 hits, walk, 4 K

Next Series: Chicago Cubs (47-43; 20-25 on road) @ Philadelphia Phillies (51-38; 22-23 at home)

With eight straight wins, the Phillies come home for seven games, hoping to get their home record above .500. This is the first meeting of the season for the two teams and won’t meet again until the middle of August.

The Cubs are trying to re-establish themselves in the central division. They are winners of four straight (it helps when you play the Nationals) and are only two games behind the Cardinals. I’ll be at tonight’s game to see Ted Lilly take the mound for Chicago. Rodrigo Lopez will get the start for Philadelphia.

The Cubs offense and defense is missing catcher Geovany Soto, who is on the DL with a strained oblique. Derek Lee has been getting hot lately as he leads the team with 18 homers. Aramis Ramirez has been playing well since his return to the line up after missing part of the season due to injury. Ryan Theriot has been the team’s consistent leader, batting .295 from the two-hole.

This is a series the Phillies can win. The Cubs want to get back in their division race but they have to face the hottest team in baseball to do so. The Phils will have solid pitching on the mounds this series but will be facing some of the Cubs’ best pitching.

With their first trip back to Bank after a 9-1 home stand going into the break, they are looking to give the fans an encore presentation. Phils take series.

Pitching Probables:
7/20*: CHC: Lilly (9-6, 3.18), PHI: Lopez, Ro (1-0, 3.18)
7/21: CHC: Harden (6-6, 5.06), PHI: Blanton (6-4, 4.44)
7/22: CHC: Zambrano, C (6-4, 3.36), PHI: Moyer (9-6, 5.58)

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