Kyle Lohse (26) throws in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins during opening day at Marlins Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
(The Cardinal Nation Show) -- The Cardinals (61-51) join the Phillies (50-61) Friday in their first visit to the City of Brotherly Love since they swiped the National League Division Series in 2011. The three game series is just a short away trip between two long home stands for the Redbirds.
The match will be hard fought by both NL teams-the Cardinals are trying to recover from a historically embarrassing loss Wednesday and hoping to gain ground in the Central standings while the Phillies seek retribution and a firmer foothold in the East.
Lohse (12-2) will take the mound as leader of the Cards' rotation, and he is seeking to maintain a League-best win percentage that currently stands at .857.
The right handed pitcher is 2-0 in his last three games, with his most recent outing resulting in 4 hits and no runs over six innings. He shows a remarkable 2.66 ERA for his last ten games and has lasted no less than six innings, while usually going seven. He has experience with many of Philadelphia's hitters, yet he has given them 6 homeruns in his history against the team-fortunately, none of them were in the 2011 or 2012 seasons, and Lohse needs to keep that true if the Cards are going to prevail.
Lohse's weakness won't be allowing homeruns, but earning strikeouts. He issued none for the 27 Phillies that took the plate against him this season, and of the 62 Phillies at-bats from last season, he only delivered 6 strikeouts. Despite these numbers, Lohse is in what could very well become his career-best season, if not just his best since back-to-back injury plagued seasons.
Halladay (5-6) is set to pitch for Philadelphia, and he hopes to continue a positive comeback from his injury and the near 2 month absence that followed. Halladay exited in the second inning against the Cardinals on May 27th after allowing four runs. He did not return to the mound until July 17th. Regardless of injury, Halladay is a time-tested pitcher, and he is reminding fans of that with his current successful recovery.
The Phillies have lost only one of the four games Halladay started since his return, and in the most recent, he produced seven scoreless innings and only three hits.
Halladay's ERA certainly stands higher than Lohse's, at 4.02, yet he makes up for that with his consistent execution of strikeouts. In 96 innings this season, he has thrown 77 strikeouts-a record that trumps Lohse's 89 strikeouts over 148 innings.
Halladay, however, will not earn them easily as the only thing consistent about his season is an injury streak. His long absence doesn't negate the success of his recovery, but it doesn't mandate it either. In a game where anything can happen (a fact the Cardinals were reminded of just last Wednesday where they earned their worst shutout loss in 51 years) it is difficult to be certain about a potential result.
Both pitchers should go at least 6 innings if they are going to help usher their team to victory-or earn a quality start-but streaks and records are built to be broken, and an injury can turn a pitcher's vulnerability into a large run cushion.
The opening pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.