May 17, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT
Earlier this week the Indians came to town riding a hot streak, having already run roughshod over the Phillies once this season. This time it’s the Reds showing up at Citizens Bank Park while on a tear – winners of six straight and 10 of their last 12 – and having already pounded the Phillies.
Cincinnati swept the Phils in their April series at Great American Ballpark, which naturally helped jump start their campaign. The Reds were 5-7 heading into that three-game set. Since then, they’re 20-9 and only 1.5 games out of first place in the NL Central.
It wasn’t pretty for the Fightins, either, as it seldom has been in 2013. Charlie Manuel’s crew managed to scrape together four runs over three tilts, which has really become the story of the year up to this point. Their problems ran deeper than that though. Bullpen woes helped cost the Phillies in 4-2 and 1-0 losses, while an 11-2 shellacking is the last time we saw John Lannan.
The big thing for the Phillies this weekend – besides trying to locate their offense – will be not to give Cincinnati too many freebies. As Matt Hammond writes, the Reds are walking their way to wins these days. With that in mind, it might be a positive that Cole Hamels will not take the hill this weekend.
At just 19-22, everybody around the Phillies is talking about trades these days, even Jimmy Rollins and Ruben Amaro. Well, I suppose that is the general manager’s job. That said, the club is only 3.5 games out of first place in the NL East, so we’re not quite there yet. A series victory could be huge with those lousy Marlins right around the corner.
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