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Houston Astros (72-83) at Philadelphia Phillies (90-65)
Yorman Bazardo, RHP (0-2, 9.55 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels, LHP (10-9, 4.11 ERA)
This could be the deciding series for the Fightin’ Phils. With their magic number at three, the Phillies could clinch as early as Tuesday depending on the Braves’ outcome. The Phillies need to take care of their own business by beating the Houston Astros, who swept them in four games at the beginning of September.
When the games get bigger, Cole Hamels gets better. In his last six starts, Hamels is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA. He struggled against Houston, allowing four earned runs in six innings.
Hamels will be opposed by Yorman Bazardo, who his seeking his first win of 2009. Bazardo is making his fourth start of the season. He has not lasted more than five innings in any of his starts. Bazardo allows a lot of base runners, 2.08 walks and hits per innings pitched. Opponents are batting .341 against him.
The offense has been better lately, and they should be able to handle Bazarado. However, they have a tendency to struggle against pitchers they’ve never faced before. The “RISP” stat will be a key stat to look at during tonight’s game.
The Phillies were unable to clinch on the road, but it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise if they can clinch in front of the home crowd. The rally towels will be out tonight, and the rest of the series.
Note: J.C. Romero has been activated from the DL. Carlos Ruiz could be back as early as Wednesday.