Saturday, July 09, 2005

Preview of Saturday's Games (7/9)

Nationals @ Philadelphia Phillies
Game Time: 1:20 p.m.
Location: Citizens Bank Park

WAS: 52-34 (1st in NL East, 2.5 ahead of Atlanta)
PHI: 43-44 (5th in NL East, 9.5 behind Washington)

Pitching Match-up
WAS: John Patterson (3-2, 3.16 ERA) Throws Right
PHI: Cory Lidle (8-6, 3.92 ERA) Throws Right

The Nationals guaranteed that they will be in first place at the All-Star break with a win over the Phillies yesterday. They are 2.5 ahead of Atlanta with two games remaining before the break.

Today, a pair of pitchers having solid seasons head to the mound looking to slow down the offenses that totaled 15 runs last night.

John Patterson throws for the Nats. He has pitched well but with little run support, and eight of his last 10 starts have been no decisions.

Cory Lidle will go to the mound for the Phils riding a personal hot streak. Lidle has gone at least six innings in his last five starts, giving up 11 runs in 35.1 innings for a 2.82 ERA in that span.

Boston Red Sox @ Orioles
Game Time: 1:20 p.m.
Location: Oriole Park at Camden Yards

BOS: 49-36 (1st in AL East, 4 ahead of Baltimore)
BAL: 45-40 (3rd in AL East, 4 behind Boston, 0.5 behind New York, 1.5 ahead of Toronto)

Pitching Match-up
BOS: Wade Miller (2-2, 4.94 ERA) Throws Right
BAL: Bruce Chen (6-5, 4.06 ERA) Throws Left

After a huge win that brought the Orioles back within three games of the Red Sox on Thursday, a huge loss on Saturday knocked the Orioles down to third place and four behind Boston again.

Now the Orioles need to at least win one of the final two games before the All-Star break to keep themselves within four games of first place. A series win by the BoSox would put them six games up, and a series win by the Orioles would cut the defecit to two.

Bruce Chen, who has been one of the Orioles' most consistent starters this year, looks to shake off an outing in which he was clearly bothered by the big toe he injured a start before. He gave up six runs in 1.1 innings against the Yankees on Independence Day.

Wade Miller will pitch for the Red Sox. His ERA has hovered around five since the end of May.

After collecting two hits last night, Rafael Palmeiro is now only five hits shy of 3,000. If he wants to reach the mark at home he would likely have to get all five in the next two games, because the Orioles go on a 10 game road trip after the break.

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