Series Preview: Phils Visit St.Louis

The Phillies are coming off a weak series against Washington and have to face Scott Rolen and the defending National League Champion St.Louis Cardinals this weekend in St.Louis. The high powered Cardinals' offense is a tough match for a Phillies bullpen that was hammered in their last two games.

Philadelphia Phillies (1-2) at St. Louis Cardinals (1-1)

Pitching Probables
Friday, April 8, 2005 – 4:15PM EST
M. Mulder (17-8, 4.43 ERA) vs. C. Lidle (12-12, 4.90 ERA)
Saturday, April 9, 2005 – 2:15PM EST
J. Suppan (16-9, 4.17 ERA) vs. G. Floyd (2-0, 3.49 ERA)
Sunday, April 10, 2005 – 2:15PM EST
C. Carpenter (1-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. J. Lieber (1-0, 4.76 ERA)

St. Louis Cardinals

Jason Isringhausen; CL – DTD; hip
Matt Morris; SP – 15-Day; shoulder

Vicente Padilla; P – 15-Day; right triceps tendinitis

Dave Mullen's analysis…

The Philadelphia Phillies are coming off of a disappointing series against the Washington Nationals. After their first win of the season, they dropped their next two games. Brett Myers and Randy Wolf were the starting pitchers in those losing games but they did have quality starts. The problem has been the bullpen giving up leads late in games.

The Phillies will start their series at Busch Stadium with Cory Lidle making his first start of the season. Lidle was acquired last year in a mid-season trade and was signed to a two-year contract this offseason. The Fightin's will face newly acquired Mark Mulder who has really bolstered the Cardinals starting rotation.

Saturday will be a day game starting at 2:15. Gavin Floyd, filling in for the injured Vicente Padilla, will make his first start of the year. Floyd will be facing veteran Jeff Suppan who had a solid 2004 season going 16-9 with a 4.17 ERA.

In the series finale, Jon Lieber will return to the mound after an Opening Day victory against the Nationals. He will be opposed by Chris Carpenter who also had a very good first outing against the Houston Astros. Carpenter went 7 innings giving up 1 run on four hits.

Matt Lombardo's analysis…

The schedule makers send the Phillies to St. Louis to take on the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals in the second series of the 2005 season. This series marks the beginning of a tough stretch in the month of April that will find Philadelphia playing 2004 playoff teams for the next nine games. Included in the next two weeks are stops in St. Louis, Florida and a visit from the division champion Atlanta Braves.

The Cardinals were big players in the offseason, bolstering their pitching staff by adding former Athletics pitcher Mark Mulder. Mulder adds to an already solid pitching rotation from 2004. Also joining the Red Birds is former Angels Shortstop, David Eckstein. Both players add to a nucleus that has proven in the recent past that they have the talent to get to the World Series.

The Phillies will need to get on some sort of a roll offensively against the tough Cardinals starters in this series, if they have any hopes of winning it. The Cardinals offense is just too strong, with a lineup loaded with power in the form of Scott Rolen, Albert Pujols and Larry Walker just to name a few. The Phillies have been hailed as one of the better hitting teams coming into this season, and in this one they match up against a lineup that could possibly be the best. This should be an interesting series to watch.

Prediction:This series is going to be a difficult one for Philadelphia to win. Look for Cardinal bats to heat up early and often. The Phillies bullpen is already showing signs of trouble, and the micro management of Charlie Manuel will be the downfall of the team in this one. The Phillies will struggle to escape St. Louis with even one win this weekend.

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