PHI: 22-23, 5th in NL East; STL: 25-19, 1st in NL Central
When: May 24-27
Where: Busch Stadium (St. Louis, MO)
Thursday: Joe Blanton (4-4, 3.74) vs Jake Westbrook (4-3, 2.41)
Friday: Cliff Lee (0-2, 2.66) vs Kyle Lohse (5-1, 2.91)
Saturday: Kyle Kendrick (0-4, 5.23) vs Jaime Garcia (3-2, 3.55)
Sunday: Roy Halladay (4-4, 3.58) vs Adam Wainwright (3-5, 4.78)
Thursday, 8:15, PHL 17
Friday, 8:15, CSN
Saturday, 7:15, FOX
Sunday, 2:15, PHL 17
All Games on 94.1 FM
Player to Watch – RF Carlos Beltran (.292 AVG, 14 HR, 37 RBI): Carlos Beltran is fully healthy again and he’s been a huge part of St. Louis’ early success. With the big hole left in the lineup by Albert Pujols in the off season, the Cardinals needed someone to step in and fill a part of the hole. Beltran was that piece and he’s done so nicely, especially in a lineup that’s also been lacking a healthy Lance Berkman. Beltran is hitting .292 and leading the team with 14 home runs and 37 RBIs. And with his history killing the Phillies as a member of the Mets, he could be in for a good series again.
Series Overview: It’s the first meeting between these two teams since the NLDS last season when the Cardinals beat the Phillies to five en route to their second World Series championship in six years.
There will be no Chris Carpenter this series thankfully, but that doesn’t mean Sunday’s battle between Roy Halladay and Adam Wainwright won’t live up to the rematch everyone wanted to see.
St. Louis’ offense is still just as deadly as it was last year, even without Pujols anchoring the lineup. Guys like Beltran, Matt Holliday and David Freese (all with at least nine homers and 30 RBIs through 44 games) have been doing the heavy lifting while Rafael Furcal, Yadier Molina and Jon Jay (on the DL for this series) have been giving them bodies to score.
It’s a well-oiled machine and it will be a true test for the Phillies pitching this series, especially Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton, as well as the bullpen to try and hold leads or keep the Phillies in the game.
The Phillies are back to being one game under .500 with their win yesterday after a six-game winning streak and four-game losing streak. They will continue their 20-plus game stretch against teams over .500 with St. Louis tonight.