Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 6/29/12
Los-angeles-angels-anaheim

Cliff Lee will open the divisional challenge for the Philadelphia Phillies. Can they climb the standings against Miami, New York and Atlanta?

In-House Rehab:  DH Ryan Howard went 2 for 4 with 3 RBI at Single-A Lakewood.

TAL’S HANDY CAPS

WELCOME, NEWCOMERS:

I will publish after every battle that is not washed out.  I will have many season-long highlights of puzzle pieces, especially important after drubbings and defeats.  If you were directed here by a feed and this review does not mention yesterday’s contest, please go to my author archives or Phillies page for my most recent coverage. (Early morning readers may arrive before the latest post.) Scroll down to Tal’s Handy Links at the bottom. Thank you.

Check out:  Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The comeback trail  (Prediction #2) over 3.5 years

NITECAP INSIGHT

The Competition:

The next 9 battles are against the Fish, the Mets and the Braves. The first 6 are on the road and Atlanta will finish the half at the Bank. The loser of the Miami series will be in the basement. The red pinstripes trail the Marlins by a mere half game. However, the starting matchups are even with the exception of the middle contest, which features Cole Hamels versus Mark Buehrle.

Next week the team will face off against the Metropolitans in the Big Apple. New York has a five-game lead over them, but their young players have now been exposed to the league. That means they should drop near .500 by July or August, because the NL has figured them out. Meanwhile, the Braves have been streaky during 32 of 75 decisions. They have won 5,5 and 6 straight during the upward swings. However, they have been setback consecutively 4, 4 and 8 times. Atlanta has had pitching difficulties in their staff and bullpen, while their offense has gone silent periodically.

The locals, on the other hand, have to mostly be concerned with the 7th and 8th innings, which is not just the relief corps.  The defense, the rotation and the closer can claim victory with a tally of 4 or more.  The offense scored 46 in the AL cities or 5.1 per, but it didn’t end there.  For the 10 battles since, they have crossed the plate 51 times, which is 5.1 per, and Chase Utley was only in 1 of those contests.  He also provides some lumber with steady glove work.  Chase will man second for 6 of the 9 matchups with Chooch Ruiz and Hunter Pence behind him.  This is where the gap can be tightened before the second half.

PHILLIESRECORDVERSUS HURLERRECORD 1LHP Cliff Lee0-4, 3.72 ERA@ Miami, NightRHP Josh Johnson4-5, 3.96 ERA 2LHP Cole Hamels10-3, 3.03 ERA@ Miami, Late DayLHP Mark Buehrle6-8, 3.55 ERA 3RHP Joe Blanton7-6, 4.87 ERA@ Miami, DayRHP Ricky Nolasco6-6, 4.78 ERA 4RHP Vance Worley2-8, 5.35 ERA@ New York, NightLHP Jon Niese6-3, 3.55 ERA 5RHP Kyle Kendrick 4-4, 2.92 ERA@ New York, DayRHP Chris Young1-1, 3.42 ERA 6LHP Cliff Lee0-4, 3.72 ERA@ New York, NightRHP R.A. Dickey11-1, 2.31 ERA 7LHP Cole Hamels10-3, 3.03 ERAAtlanta, NightRHP Tim Hudson6-3, 3.58 ERA 8RHP Joe Blanton7-6, 4.87 ERAAtlanta, NightRHP Tommy Hanson9-4, 3.59 ERA 9RHP Vance Worley4-4, 2.92 ERAAtlanta, DayRHP Jair Jurrjens1-2, 6.07 ERA

PRECAP PITCH
Cliff Lee:

He opens against the Fish and the club needs a sterling performance.  However, he has struggled in his last 3 efforts, which translates to being charged with 14 all-earned runs for 20 frames.

STARTERRECORDTMSTARTERRECORDDAY & TIME 1LHP Cliff Lee0-4, 3.72 ERA@ MarlinsRHP Josh Johnson4-5, 3.96 ERAFriday, Night 2LHP Cole Hamels10-3, 3.03 ERA@ MarlinsLHP Mark Buehrle6-8, 3.55 ERASaturday, Late Day 3RHP Joe Blanton7-6, 4.87 ERA@ MarlinsRHP Ricky Nolasco6-6, 4.78 ERASunday, Day


Josh Johnson:

He hasn’t been the dominant hurler of years past, but he is still a strong foe who can twirl a gem in any outing.  He has lasted 6.2 innings plus in 8 of 15 attempts with 4 clunkers.  His first debacle was at the hands of the Phils, who clobbered him for 11 hits and 6 all-earned runs over only 3.2 frames.  That said, he has a 1.95 June ERA and has fared better at home.

DELIVERY = PITCHER’S 2012DEFINITION OF SEASON Over The TopExcellent 3-Quarters SidearmGood SidearmAbove Average Short Arm Approximately Average SubmarineBelow Average

Quality number of the pitcher:  1 – 5

Slot on his club:  1 – 5

Ranking is 1 to 5 & 15 for the less adventurous.

HURLERCliff LeeJosh Johnson NUMBERA OneA One CLUB SLOTTwoOne FOR 2012SidearmSidearm '12 RANKING3rd of 5 Categories3rd of 5 Categories LAST STARTScrewballCutter* LAST HIGH OR LOW10th of 15 Categories3rd of 15 Categories

DISPLAY NOTE:  Non-listed results can go up or down by

* 1 notch & ** 2 clicks (This note will only appear when it’s relevant.)

* 1 Tick UP

PITCHINNER - R- HPITCHINNER 1Gyroball9 (CG)0 - 0 - 310Screwball64 2Fastball9 (CG)0 - 011Knuckleball53 3Cutter9 (CG)312Forkball0 - 4.2Monstrosity 4Split Finger7213Eephus Pitch0 - 2.2Disaster 5Curveball7314*Palm BallEjected 6Sinker6.1315*Spit Ball**Ejected+ 7Slider62*Breaking BallInjured 8Changeup63*FoshRain Interrupted 9Slurve52** = Suspended* = A 2nd Pitch Also

TAL’S HANDY SERIES

The Comeback:  Check it out.

Philadelphia Phillies storyline: Past the first obstacle (Sunday)

Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The comeback trail (Friday)

LINK-UP BELOW:

Tal’s Handy Caps on Facebook is for notification of posts and any holdups that may occur. It might be worth your while because there are delays of 2 hours on most feeds.

Check out my previous publications (A Fresh Look) and the 69 storylines–so far–for 2012 on the Phillies page or my author archives, where there is an excerpt photo.

Tal’s Handy Stats is daily coverage. I am alternating the 2012 ERA For The NL East and the 2012 ERA For The MLB 5. Thank you, to all who bookmarked the Phillies page.

TAL’S HANDY LINKS

TAL’S HANDY CAPS on Facebook 

Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The next lineup

Philadelphia Phillies storyline: The next ex-Phillies (Horsemen stats)

Philadelphia Phillies

Tal Venada (Temporarily experiencing a glitch)

Philadelphia Phillies: 2012 ERA for the MLB 5 at game 77

Philadelphia Phillies: 2012 ERA for the NL East at game 76

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