Series Preview: Astros

PHI: 70-53, 2nd in NL East
Hou: 54-69, 4th in NL Central
Where: Citizens Bank Park (Philly, PA)
Discussion: Liberty Bell Sports

Probable Pitchers
Mon: Brett Myers (8-7, 3.11) vs. Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.54)
Tue: Bud Norris (6-7, 5.43) vs. Cole Hamels (7-10, 3.51)
Wed: J.A. Happ (3-2, 3.54) vs. Roy Halladay (16-8, 2.16)
Thu: Wandy Rodriguez (9-12, 4.00) vs. Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 4.58)

Mon: 7:05, CSN
Tue: 7:05, MyPHL 17
Wed: 7:05, CSN
Thu: 1:05, CSN
All games on 1210 AM

Hot (last 7) – Shane Victorino: .333 (9-for-27), 4 R, 5 2B, 3 RBI.
Not (last 7) – Raul Ibanez: .192 (5-for-26), 4 R, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 9 K.

Player to Watch – Brett Myers: It’s Myers’ return to Philly, his first trip since being banished to Houston. The right-hander will face the Phillies on Monday to start the series. In the off season, the vocal red neck voiced his disappointment in not being offered a contract by the Phillies. Instead, he is looking to, “stick it” to the Phils. I hope Howard sticks his 92 MPH fastball in the second deck in right field to silence his yapper.

Overview: The Phillies lead the series 3-0 which featured a sweep at Houston during the first week of the regular season.  It features the return of many former Phillies to Citizens Bank Park.  Among those returning are JA Happ, Michael Bourn, and Brett Myers.

The pitching matchups certainly seem to favor the Phillies.  Monday should be the only game that the Astros may have the upper hand in.  Myers has pitched very well for the Astros this season and resulted in a contract extension with the team.  On the other hand, Joe Blanton pitching great in his last outing only giving up two runs on solo home runs.  Wednesday will feature the former Phillie Happ facing off against ace Roy Halladay.  I’m sure Happ would like nothing more than to beat the team that dealt him.  However Halladay is coming off a shutoout against the Nationals and will be on his game as usual.

Houston is 22-36 on the road the Phillies are 42-22 at home. With only 19 games left at home, the Phillies will need to utilize the home field advantage.  The Phillies have been a great home team this season and that should continue during this series.  The Astros are 6-4 in their last 10 games and are playing somewhat better baseball down the stretch.  Aside from Saturday night’s drubbing at the hands of the Nationals, the Phillies are playing great baseball right now.  That should continue with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley getting back into the swing of things.

This will be the first time the Phillies will face Brett Myers and J.A. Happ. Myers wasn’t re-signed in the off season and instead signed with the Astros. Happ was traded to Houston along with prospects a month ago for Roy Oswalt, who the Phillies will not be pitching against the Astros.  It will be a chance for some of the former Phillies to get a little revenge on the team that traded them.  It will be an interesting reunion for sure and should be filled with plenty of fireworks.

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