Series Preview: at St. Louis Cardinals

PHI: 25-14, 1st in NL East; STL: 22-19, 2nd in NL Central

When: May 16-17
Where: Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)

Probable Pitchers
Monday: Cliff Lee (2-2, 3.78) vs Jake Westbrook (2-3, 6.92)
Tuesday: Roy Oswalt (3-1, 3.33) vs. Jaime Garcia (5-1, 1.89)

Broadcast Info
Monday, 7:05, CSN
Tuesday, 8:15, PHL 17
All Games on 1210 AM

Player to Watch – Matt Holliday: Holliday is off to a tremendous start of the 2011 campaign. Though Albert Pujols garners all the attention of opposing teams, Holliday should as well.

He is leading the Majors in average (.379) with five homers and 28 RBIs. Signed by the Cards a few seasons ago, Holliday was brought in for production just like that. He’s one of the main reasons the Cards are in second in a tough division despite their pitching being down.

Holliday is incredibly vital to this team. He can certainly take advantage of facing a left-handed starter in Cliff Lee and a starter whose velocity is down in Roy Oswalt.

Overview: The Cardinals are certainly lacking in the pitching this year as their two aces, Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, are gone for a while.

But they found some solace in their young phenom of a pitcher Jaime Garcia. He’s unbeaten on the season with an astounding 1.89 ERA. He will face Oswalt on Tuesday.

The Phillies will match Tuesday’s starter Jake Westbrook and Garcia with Oswalt and Lee in those match ups. They will hope to cancel out a strong Cards line up featuring Holliday, Pujols and a red hot Lance Berman with a lefty and a guy who is battling a sore back.

The Phillies have been struggling offensively again. They have averaged 3.5 runs a game in 13 games in the month of May. They are 7-6 in that span.

Is this something to worry about? Who knows. But they did get a positive sign in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta. John Mayberry, starting in place of Ben Francisco, was on base three times, including a two-run home run. He’s been having better ABs as he slowly matures into a bigger role. The Phillies need to roll the dice and play him more of the struggling Francisco.

Another factor attributing to the offenses struggles is the health. With Chase Utley’s return nearing, an upgrade would be huge. They now have a healthy Carlos Ruiz but are missing Shane Victorino. A balance healthy line up could end the worries.

After this two-game set, they come home for a nine-game home stand that starts with a two-game set against Colorado. But for now, they need to focus on beating St. Louis.

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