Thome hopes to help the Philadelphia Phillies continue their interleague resurgence when the take on the Anaheim Angels in the middle game of their series at Edison Field.
After 10 successful seasons with the Cleveland Indians, Thome signed a six-year, $85 million deal with the Phillies in the offseason. His unfamiliarity with NL pitchers has contributed to some early season struggles.
But he’s no stranger to the Angels.
Thome entered Monday’s opener with a .317 career average against Anaheim with 17 homers and 52 RBIs from his years with the Indians.
He continued to torment Anaheim on Monday by clubbing a long homer and adding an RBI single, that lifted the Phillies to a 3-0 victory. Philadelphia has won three straight after opening interleague play with a four-game skid.
“It’s always nice to play in parks you’re familiar with,” said Thome, who now has eight career homers at Edison Field.
Despite their loss Monday, the world champion Angels have won six of nine.
Scott Speizio had half of Anaheim’s six hits and is batting .347 (26-for-75) over his last 22 games with four doubles, three triples, two homers and 10 RBIs.
STANDINGS: Phillies - 3rd place, 9 GB, NL East. Angels - 3rd place, 11 GB, AL West.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Brandon Duckworth (3-1, 5.21 ERA). Duckworth hasn’t figured into a decision since a May 17 victory over Houston, sporting a 4.19 ERA in three starts since the win. The 27-year-old right-hander allowed two runs and four hits over seven innings in Philadelphia’s 5-4 loss to Seattle on Thursday, striking out seven and walking two. He makes his first career start against the Angels.
ANGELS PROBABLE STARTER: John Lackey (3-5, 6.14 ERA). Lackey has yielded a combined nine runs and 15 hits over 11 2-3 innings over his two starts. The 24-year-old right-hander didn’t figure into the decision of Anaheim’s 8-7 loss to Montreal on Thursday, getting hit for four runs and seven hits over six innings, while striking out five and walking one. He makes his first career start against the Phillies.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .328 avg.; Thome, 15 HRs and 48 RBIs; Jimmy Rollins, 41 runs and 7 SBs. Angels - Garret Anderson, .311 avg. and 57 RBIs; Troy Glaus, 14 HRs and 41 runs; Adam Kennedy, 10 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Phillies - 3-4; Angels - 4-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - RHP Jose Mesa pitched a perfect ninth on Monday for his 16th save in 19 chances. It was his 103rd save with the Phillies, tying Steve Bedrosian’s club record. Mesa is one of 10 pitchers to record at least 100 saves with two different teams since major league baseball began keeping the statistic in 1969. … The Phillies are third in the NL with a 3.65 team ERA, behind Los Angeles (3.03) and Chicago (3.64). … 3B David Bell was 7-for-23 with a home run and four RBIs for San Francisco in last year’s World Series against Anaheim but was 0-for-4 Monday. Angels - Twelve of Anaheim’s 31 victories are come-from-behind wins, six of those when trailing by three runs or more. … OF Anderson was named AL player of the week for the first time in his career after batting .448 (13-for-29) with eight runs scored, a double, six home runs and 15 RBI. … SS David Eckstein played for the first time in four games since bruising a bone in his left hand during batting practice late last week. Eckstein pinch-ran in the eighth inning.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 16-14 on the road; Angels - 15-13 at home.