Vance Worley takes the mound in the opener of the Phillies three-game series with the Padres. (Philliedelphia/Kevin Durso)
The last time the Phillies entered a series with the Padres, it was supposed to have that redeeming quality that is coming along with this one. The Phillies were in search of a winning streak. After taking the first two games of that series, they lost the last two to split the series.
This time around, the Phillies are coming in off a team meeting after being swept by the New York Mets. They are sitting in last place in the NL East, 5 1/2 games back of the division leading Washington Nationals.
The Padres aren't in a better place. They are a National League worst 11-21. This should be just what the doctor ordered for the Phillies.
Still, there are no guarantees, but it is hard to find a bright spot in the Padres' lineup. Their best hitter is Yonder Alonso, hitting .292 on the season. The next highest average on the team is by Chris Denorfia at .288, then nothing above .260 for the rest of the roster.
Chase Headley is leading the way in run production with four home runs and 16 RBIs. Only Nick Hundley and Jesus Guzman have hit double-digits in RBIs so far with 12 and 11 respectably.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series.
In the opener, Vance Worley (2-2, 2.84 ERA) faces Clayton Richard (1-4, 4.89 ERA) – Worley allowed five runs over six innings in taking the loss to the Nationals on Saturday. It was the most runs he has allowed in his six starts so far this season. Worley pitched seven shutout innings against the Padres on April 19 in a 2-0 Phillies win. It is Worley's only start against the Padres in his career.
Richard has struggled mightily since winning his first start of the season. He has lost his last four starts including last Saturday to the Marlins where he allowed three runs over seven innings. In his career against the Phillies (two starts), Richard is 0-2 with a 2.40 ERA.
In the middle game, Roy Halladay (3-2, 3.28 ERA) goes against Edinson Volquez (1-2, 2.98 ERA) – Halladay rebounded strongly from a rough outing against the Braves to limit the Mets to two runs on Friday, taking a no-decision in the Phillies' 5-2 loss. He suffered his first loss of the season to the Padres on April 21, allowing two runs over seven innings in a 3-1 Phillies' loss. In his career against the Padres (four starts), Halladay is 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA.
Volquez enters this start coming off his first winning effort of the season after allowing two runs in 5 1/3 innings to the Rockies. He took the loss in his April 20 start against the Phillies, allowing three runs in six innings. In his career against the Phillies (three starts), Volquez is 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA.
In the finale, Cole Hamels (4-1, 2.45 ERA) gets the start against Jeff Suppan (2-0, 0.90 ERA) – Hamels is back from a five-game suspension he earned after hitting Bryce Harper intentionally in his last start against the Nationals, allowing one run over eight innings in the Phillies' 9-3 win. Since losing his first start of the season, Hamels is 4-0 in his last five starts, including a win over the Padres on April 20 where he allowed one run over six innings. In his career against the Padres (12 starts), Hamels is 7-2 with a 2.22 ERA.
Suppan comes into the start winning his first two starts of 2012 after an absence for a year during the 2011 season. His most recent victory was against the Rockies where he allowed just one run over five innings. In his career against the Phillies (14 games, 13 starts), Suppan is 3-7 with a 6.62 ERA.
Prediction:May 11 – Phillies 6, Padres 3May 12 – Phillies 2, Padres 3May 13 – Phillies 3, Padres 1
Once again, it is the starting pitching that will keep the Phillies moving along. The offense hasn't been all that bad recently, especially in their losing effort to the Mets on Wednesday, where they managed 15 hits. I expect Charlie Manuel's message to still be fresh enough in their minds to make an impact then.
The middle game will not be on Roy Halladay, but the Phillies simply won't be able to the supply the run support to get the win. In an effort to get runs, Halladay won't go as long as he could and the bullpen, if recent history holds true, will find a way to lose this one.
With Hamels back in the finale, I expect the Phillies to win. Simple as that. The track record for Suppan against the Phillies isn't good, which usually spells a good outing for a pitcher, but the Phillies will not need many runs on this day, and that will be the key.
The Phillies will finish off the homestand with a quick two-game series against the Houston Astros before going on the road for another two-game series with the Chicago Cubs. After that, they play their first interleague series of the season, hosting the Boston Red Sox for three games.
Kevin Durso is a contributor for Philliedelphia. You can follow him on twitter @KDursoPhilsNet.