Welcome back, folks! The ASG is complete as is the first half of the season. It's now time to look forward towards the future for the Phillies. No – not the next few months chasing a pennany, but the next two weeks, the trade dradline and how it will affect the next few years of this franchise.
The Phillies finished the first half in last place (10 GB) in the NL East with a 42-53 record and without much hope. As the end of this era draws near, the front office has big decisions to make as far as rebuilding and re-tooling goes. With many talents who are regarded as value to a contending team, the Phils will look to do the best they can on the field while the front office does the best that they can to make the next few seasons better for this city.
A.J. Burnett (6-8, 3.83 ERA) is one of those talents and he will make his 21st start of the year tonight against Ervin Santana (7-6, 4.01 ERA) as the Phils and Braves open up a three-game series to get back into the groove of things.
In A.J. Burnett's last ten starts, he has a 4.25 ERA (34 runs in 72 IP) and has dropped his WHIP by ten points. His last time out, against the Nationals last Friday, Burnett allowed two earned runs through 7 2/3 innings. Effectively going into the 8th inning, Burnett gave the bullpen a break and helped his team to gain the win. Pitching on one week's rest, Burnett will attempt to go deep into the game once more. He has pitched into or past the sixth inning in ten straight starts.
Ervin Santana seemed to be a big signing for the Braves this offseason. With them losing Brian McCann at the plate they looked to strike big and go with a veteran who knew how to pitch his team to a win. Santana hasn't exactly delivered, however. Despite a 7-6 record, Santana owns a 4.01 ERA and has a .267 opposing average in 17 starts. Looking to turn it around in the second half, Santana will look to lead his team to another NL East title as the Braves exit the ASG break tied with the Nationals for first place.
The Phillies enter the second half 10 games out of first and 11 games under .500.
Be on the lookout for possible trade rumors in the next couple of weeks.
In his last five starts, Ervin Santana is 2-3 with a 3.82 ERA.
Ben Revere CF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Marlon Byrd RF
Grady Sizemore LF
Cody Asche 3B
Cameron Rupp C
A.J. Burnett P.
B.J. Upton CF
Andrelton Simmons SS
Freddie Freeman 1B
Justin Upton LF
Jason Heyward RF
Chris Johnson 3B
Tommy La Stella 2B
Christian Bethancourt C
Ervin Santana P.
First Pitch: 7:35 PM ET
Location: Turner Field, Atlanta, GAWeather: T-Storms – 77° – 70% PrecipTV: CSN
Erik Seybold is a writer for Philliedelphia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI