Philadelphia Phillies (12-14) at Cleveland Indians (?-?)
Series 9, Games 24 and 25
Progressive Field, Cleveland: 1.061, Hitters park
Heading into this season, the Phillies are caught in an in-between state and like the Indians, should rebuild in my opinion. No matter what happened last year, the presence of Hamels, Halladay and Lee makes them a dangerous team. After all, we all know that pitching wins. Much like the Yankees, these are not the typical Phillies that we grew up with. Although most of their star players are still on the 25 man roster, they are older and more prone to injury. Halladay is 35. Lee is 34. Ryan Howard is 33 and had a terrible 2012 season. Jimmy Rollins is 34. Chase Utley is 34, and hasn't played more than 115 games in the last three seasons. Carlos Ruiz is 34. Even new third baseman Michael Young is anything but for a professional athlete, at 36. None of their offensive players are elite at his position anymore, but the trio of aces should keep them in the race this season.
Tuesday, April 30, 7:05 EDT (STO)
Zach McAllister (1-3, 3.52 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (2-2, 5.08 ERA)
Halladay, in his last outing, held the Pirates to just one run on one hit while striking out eight over six innings. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Halladay fell behind most of the batters he faced (only 57 of 95 pitches for strikes), but battled to force the Bucs to either strike out or make bad contact. Despite the strong outing, he did not get the win because the Phillies bullpen and defense blew the lead. After a rough start to the season, Halladay has started to pitch like his normal self. He has put up a 1.71 ERA with a 16:5 K:BB ration over his last three starts. Jason Giambi should DH in this game, as he has enjoyed wonderful success against Halladay; he is hitting .306/.375/.486 with four homeruns in 72 at-bats against the former CY Young award winner.
Wednesday, May 1, 7:05 EDT (STO)
Scott Kazmir (L) (0-1 8.64 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (L) (2-1, 3.03 ERA)
Since the start of the 2009 season, Lee has walked 3.6 percent of the batters he has faced, the lowest percentage in the league. He has a 1.09 WHIP over that span, tied for fourth lowest among starting pitchers, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. In his last start, Lee allowed three runs on 10 hits over seven innings in a no-decision against the Pirates. He struck out seven and walked one. Lee threw 122 pitches in that game, which is four shy of his career high. He has never felt any quantifiable effect from high pitch count games and I wouldn't expect one for this game. These type of crafty southpaws have given the Indians troubles this season. This, coupled with Lee's desire to beat the Indians for how the organization handled his 2007 season, gives all the indicators that the Indians will not beat Lee.
Prediction: Phillies sweep Indians.