Pirates-Phillies Preview

Following a rough start to the year, Roy Halladay appears to

have recaptured his Cy Young form.

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to the Pittsburgh


Halladay takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies looking

to continue his dominance of the Pirates as these clubs play the

third of four Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

After compiling an uncharacteristic 14.73 ERA in losing his

first two starts, Halladay (2-2, 6.04 ERA) has posted a 1.80 ERA

and limited opponents to a .143 average in recording back-to-back

wins. The two-time Cy Young award winner gave up two hits – both

solo homers – and went the distance in Friday’s rain-shortened 8-2,

seven-inning victory over St. Louis.

“Today was as close as I’ve felt to where I want to be. When I

stay within myself and execute the mechanics the way they should be

done, I feel good where I’m at,” he said.

“I always felt I was going in the right direction. Once I got a

chance to pitch deeper in games, do more bullpens, I felt I was

able to take some of that over into the game.”

Halladay has to like his chances of keeping things going versus

Pittsburgh (11-9). The right-hander, who’s won three consecutive

starts in the series, has gone 4-1 over six career matchups against

the Pirates while compiling a 0.98 ERA – his lowest mark against

any opponent.

He’s made things difficult on several of their hitters,

including Andrew McCutchen (1 for 10), Neil Walker (1 for 9), Clint

Barmes (0 for 8) and Pedro Alvarez (0 for 5).

Halladay, though, could find himself in a pitchers’ duel with

Wandy Rodriguez (2-0, 0.56). Scratched from his previous start due

to a strained hamstring, Rodriguez faced the minimum while throwing

seven innings of one-hit ball Friday in a 6-0 win over Atlanta.

“When you see a guy twirling like he did today, there’s not any

team that’s going to put up much against him,” manager Clint Hurdle

said. “It wasn’t just the strikes but the location of the strikes.

It was like he was throwing darts.

“I don’t know if we can afford to throw him every 11th day, but

that was pretty special.”

The left-hander is 2-2 with a 4.70 ERA against the Phillies


After dropping Monday’s series opener 3-2, Pittsburgh bounced

back with a 2-0 win the following night. Jeff Locke threw six

strong innings and Gaby Sanchez hit his second homer.

The Pirates opened 1-5 but have since won 10 of 14, including

four of their last five while allowing six total runs.

Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin extended his hitting streak to

eight games with a single Tuesday. He’s batting .444 with two

homers and six runs scored over that stretch.

McCutchen, though, hasn’t been very locked in of late. He’s

hitless in eight at-bats in the series and is batting .120 in his

last seven road games. McCutchen is a career .193 hitter in


The Phillies, who went 26 for 62 (.419) with runners in scoring

position over their first eight home games, have since gone 5 for

34 (.147), including Tuesday’s 0-for-5 effort.

“I think they’re trying, maybe a little bit too hard,” manager

Charlie Manuel said. “But you have to get it done. … We have to

improve our game.”

Cleanup hitter Ryan Howard left two runners on base Tuesday, and

has one RBI in his last 11 games. He is 4 for 12 with a homer

lifetime against Rodriguez.