For a team playing without its two All-Star hitters, the Philadelphia Phillies haven’t suffered much of an offensive drop-off.
The Phillies hope to keep up their high-scoring ways as they try to complete a three-game sweep of the in-state rival Pittsburgh Pirates in Sunday’s series finale.
Philadelphia (54-49) lost second baseman Chase Utley on Thursday when he was hit by a pitch, breaking his right hand. Utley, who ranks in the NL’s top 10 in runs (79), hits (134) and RBIs (82), underwent surgery on Friday and is expected to miss about a month.
Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand, meanwhile, hasn’t had an at-bat since Thursday because of a shoulder injury. Rowand, batting .328 this year, is expected to return for Sunday’s finale.
Despite the absence of two of their top hitters, the Phillies have totaled 18 runs while winning the first two games of this series. They had 12 hits in a 10-5 win over the Pirates on Saturday, as shortstop Jimmy Rollins went 3-for-5 with three RBIs to extend his hitting streak to eight games.
“It’s a team,” said Rollins, who is batting .342 (13-for-38) during his streak. “We found a way to get it done before.”
The win was Philadelphia’s seventh in eight games, a stretch that has helped them pull into second place in the NL East, 3 1/2 games behind the New York Mets.
Philadelphia is averaging 6.8 runs per game this month while batting .318 as a team - both tops in the majors.
The Pirates (42-60), on the other hand, have been outscored 82-48 in losing 12 of their last 14 games. They own the worst record in the NL.
“With an offense like that on the other side, you’ve got to get outs and we didn’t get them,” manager Jim Tracy said.
Pittsburgh hope to rebound behind Ian Snell (7-8, 3.62 ERA), who was having a breakout season before losing a career-high three straight starts.
Snell was 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA through July 4, but has a 9.00 ERA in his last three outings. He gave up a season-high six earned runs in four innings of an 8-4 loss to the New York Mets on Tuesday.
“I’m starting to break,” Snell told the Pirates’ official Web site. “I’m getting stressed out, and I don’t know about these other guys, but I just want to win. I don’t want to be called a loser. Even my family calls our team losers, and I don’t want them to say that about our team.”
Snell is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA in three career starts against the Phillies, but beat them twice with a 0.64 ERA in two starts last year. Rollins is 4-for-9 in his career against Snell.
Rookie Kyle Kendrick (4-1, 4.44) takes the ball for the Phillies, who are 6-2 in the 22-year-old right-hander’s eight starts. Philadelphia beat Washington 4-3 on Tuesday, but Kendrick didn’t get a decision after allowing three runs in 5 2-3 innings.
Kendrick has failed to last through the sixth inning in his last two starts, after doing so in each of his first six major league outings.
He has never faced the Pirates.