Forecasting pitching match-ups is always tricky business in April given the possibility of a rogue Nor'easter wreaking havoc on the schedule.
But here are the likely match-ups for the Phillies' first three series.
On paper, the Phils have the advantage in most of them. But there are some tricky match-ups here.
1) vs Houston at Citizens Bank Park
Friday, April 1
Roy Halladay vs. RHP Brett Myers
Saturday, April 2
Cliff Lee vs. LHP Wandy Rodriguez
Sunday, April 3
RHP Roy Oswalt vs. LHP J.A. Happ
BREAKDOWN: Happ strained an oblique in an exhibition start on Monday night, putting his start in jeopardy. The potential for rain and snow on Friday also puts Opening Day as a question mark. If Happ is not ready to go, the Phillies would likely face righthander Bud Norris, previously the Astros' No. 4 starter. If Opening Day is postponed due to weather, the two teams would likely play on Monday, which both teams have off (the Astros play a three-game series in Cincinnati after leaving Philadelphia, while the Phillies host the Mets.
Happ is scheduled to throw a bullpen session tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park, after which a decision will be made on whether or not he starts.
2) vs. Mets at Citizens Bank Park
Tuesday, April 5
Cole Hamels vs. RHP Chris Young
Wednesday, April 6
Joe Blanton vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey
Thursday, April 7
Roy Halladay at LHP Jon Niese
BREAKDOWN: This could turn out to be a trickier series than it might appear on paper. Young finally appears to have moved past the shoulder problems that limited him to 18 starts over the last two seasons. He pitched well in four starts for the Padres at the end of 2010, allowing two earned runs in 20 innings. Young faced the Phillies most recently on June 3, 2009, holding them to three runs in six innings of a 5-1 Phils win. They hit him hard earlier that season, scoring seven runs in 3 2/3 innings of an 8-7 loss. In two earlier starts, one in April of 2008 and another in July of 2007, Young held the Phillies to two earned runs on seven hits in 13 innings.
Pelfrey, meanwhile, finished 2010 with three strong starts against the Phillies, pitching at least seven innings while allowing three or fewer runs in each one. In 13 starts over the last three seasons, Pelfrey is 6-4 with a 4.52 ERA.
And you can understand why the Mets are skipping their fifth starter so that Niese faces the Phillies: Last year, the young lefty dominated them in three starts, allowing five earned runs and 16 hits with 20 strikeouts in 21 innings (the Mets, of course, lost two of those games).
3) at Atlanta at Turner Field
Friday, April 8
LHP Cliff Lee at RHP Tim Hudson
Saturday, April 9
RHP Roy Oswalt at RHP Jair Jurrjens
Sunday, April 10
LHP Cole Hamels vs. RHP Brandon Beachy
BREAKDOWN: The good news is that Ryan Howard has crushed Tim Hudson throughout his career. The bad news is nobody else on the Phillies has been able to do much against him as of late. Over the last three seasons, Hudson has faved the Phillies five times, allowing 12 earned runs in 33 2/3 innings. But the Phillies have won three of those games.
Jurrjens has also has a lot of success against the Phils in his career, while Hamels vs. Beachy is one of those bottom-of-the-rotation mis-matches that the Phillies hope to feast on throughout this season.
Any predictions on the Phils' record after three series?
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