06/21/09 5:12 PM ET
Phils head south, aim to halt recent skid
Philadelphia (36-31) at Tampa Bay (37-34), 7:08 p.m. ET
By David Gurian-Peck / MLB.com
For starters, they open their three-game 2008 World Series rematch with the Rays on Tuesday under the protection of Tropicana Field's dome, away from whatever precipitation Mother Nature decides to keep throwing their way.They also get to move on from a 1-8 homestand which featured two blown saves, two extra-inning losses and record-setting futility, as the Phils became the first team in history to lose 12 of 13 Interleague home games. Instead, Philadelphia heads to St. Petersburg, bringing with it the Majors' best road record at 23-9. And while the Phils have struggled against American League teams over the past two seasons, this week should have an air of familiarity. They faced all three scheduled Rays starters during the World Series -- although young phenom David Price was relieving then -- and hit them fairly well. Matt Garza, expected to pitch Wednesday, allowed four runs in six innings during Game 3; Andy Sonnanstine, slated for Thursday's finale, was chased after four innings in Game 4, allowing five runs (four earned). Maybe remembering the World Series will help jump-start the Phillies.
"If that helps," manager Charlie Manuel said, "I hope they think of it."
Then there's Tampa Bay designated hitter Pat Burrell, about as familiar as they come. The 32-year-old spent his first nine big league seasons with the Phillies after they made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft. Burrell trails only Del Ennis and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt on the franchise's all-time home run list, and is fifth in walks and seventh in RBIs.But Philadelphia opted to part ways with Burrell last offseason and sign Raul Ibanez instead. So far, that decision has worked out well. Ibanez, though on the disabled list, is among the National League leaders with 22 homers and 59 RBIs. Burrell has also battled injuries, and is hitting .238 with only five extra-base hits. Manuel was asked if he would like Burrell to throw a party to loosen up the Phillies.
"That would be good," Manuel said. "I'll call Pat and tell him I'll throw in some of the money, all right?"
PHI: LHP Jamie Moyer (4-6, 6.35 ERA)
Moyer went 1-2 with a 3.77 ERA in his previous five starts before he allowed 10 hits, six runs, two home runs and two walks in six innings Wednesday against the Blue Jays. But Moyer had success against the Rays last October in Game 3 of the World Series. He allowed just five hits and three runs and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings.
Price had a lot to be proud of in his last start against the Rockies. He tossed a career-high seven innings, threw his slider and fastball for strikes, found the feel for his changeup and didn't walk a batter. Price had never thrown more than 5 2/3 innings. Unfortunately, he also picked up the loss as he allowed five runs, which included two home runs, on 10 hits. Price faced his next opponent, the Phils, last year in the 2008 World Series. In two relief appearances, he gave up two runs, one earned, in 3 1/3 innings. Tidbits
During a special Father's Day on-field ceremony before Sunday's game, Moyer presented his father, Jim, with a 2008 Phillies World Series ring, while general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. presented Moyer's father with the official lineup card from his son's 250th career win. ... Despite their struggles at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies lead all NL teams in homers at home. ... The annual Phillies Phestival to benefit the ALS Association will be held Monday night. Last year, the event raised over $758,000. Tickets
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WPHT 1210, WUBA 1480 (Español) Up next
Wednesday: Phillies (Joe Blanton, 4-3, 5.28) at Rays (Matt Garza, 4-5, 3.83), 7:08 p.m. ET
Thursday: Phillies (Antonio Bastardo, 2-2, 5.21) at Rays (Andy Sonnanstine, 5-7, 6.60), 7:08 p.m. ET
Friday: Phillies (J.A. Happ, 4-0, 3.47) at Blue Jays (TBD), 7:07 p.m. ET
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.