Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ibanez, Phillies power past Reds; bring on the Yankees!

(AP Photo/Al Behrman)
Who needs good starting pitching when you have an offense like this? The Phillies got a poor outing from Joe Blanton, who gave up 5 runs in 5 innings, but they managed to destroy the Reds with their bats and pick up a 12-5 win. The Phils offense was paced by four homers, one each from Greg Dobbs, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and the red-hot Raul Ibanez. They still aren't getting the performances they need from their starting pitchers, but that offense, which is 2nd in the NL in runs scored, could very well carry them right back into the playoffs.

Ibanez has been the story of the season so far as he now is hitting .349 with 15 homers, 40 RBI. Those numbers put him in Triple Crown contention now that he is first in RBI, tied for first in homers and 7th in the NL in batting average. It's even more eye-popping when you look at his projected numbers for the season. If Ibanez keeps hitting at his current pace, he will finish the season with 62 homers and 166 RBI. We know that won't happen, but Raul is still likely to finish with around 40 homers and 110+ RBI. Is there anyone out there that still misses Pat Burrell? (1 HR, 17 RBI)

Up next for the Phillies is a trip to New York to play the Yankees. Can you believe it's already time for Interleague play? Much has been made about how easy the Phillies schedule has been so it will be interesting to see how they do against the powerful Yanks. The pitching matchups favor the Yankees, as they will be sending out their two lefties Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia to counter the Phils lefty heavy lineup. J.A. Happ will make his first start of the season for the Phils, he will have a tough time trying to slow down the potent Yankee lineup. The marquee matchup of the series is Sunday when Cole Hamels faces off with Sabathia. That is a must-watch game and it should be a hell of a pitchers duel.

The Phillies are still relying on their bats to bail them out because their pitching isn't coming through. The Yankees are pretty much in the same boat, so expect to see some high-scoring games in New York this weekend.

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