Maddux set himself up to bring home the historic win during his last outing, but closer Trevor Hoffman blew the save. Tonight, the Phillies will try to prevent the game from even being Hoffman's hands.
Maddux has revived himself a bit during the early going in 2008. He's given up three earned runs or less in every start but one. Unfortunately for Maddux, that one start was a career high nine earned runs in his first attempt at win 350.
One reason for Maddux's resurgence is it seems like he's retuned two-seam fastball which was always one of his best pitches in the 90s. Every time he pitches, it seems like his two-seam fastball shows up on Baseball Tonight during the "That's Nasty" segment.
His pinpoint control is as good as its almost ever been. Maddux issued a mere 25 walks in about 200 innings in 2007, and is off the same strong start in 2008. The former Cy Young winner has just six walks in 2008. The Phillies have typically been very good at working pitchers and creating base runners so tonight the Phillies might need to manufacture an extra run or two because Maddux is going to keep base runners to a minimum.
Shane Victorino will most likely be back in the lineup tonight to face Maddux giving the Phillies another solid left handed bat. Here's the projected lineup and how they've fared against Maddux.
1. Shane Victorino (1-3)
2. Jason Werth (0-3)
3. Chase Utley (1-4 with a home run)
4. Ryan Howard (1-3)
5. Pat Burrell (15-41 with two home runs)
6. Pedro Feliz (5-22)
7. Chris Coste never faced Maddux
8. Eric Bruntlett (1-7)
Cole Hamels throws tonight for the Phillies. He's been a hard luck loser twice this year which makes his 2-3 record not representative of how he's pitched this year. Manager Charlie Manuel left Hamels in the eighth inning to pitch to the heart of the Brewers lineup last time out and got burned.
Hamels's overall numbers are still very strong. He's got 30 strike outs in 36 innings and a phenomenal WHIP and ERA of 1.08 and .275. He's basically two bad breaks from opening the season 4-1 and in the early season Cy Young talks.
The Camel has pitched well against his hometown team in the past. He lost a tough start last year when Chris Young out dueled him 1-0 in San Diego.
CuseAdelphia Prediction: Phillies 5 Padres 3. The Phillies really like to bash pitchers who don't have a pitch with a ton of extreme movement. Ryan Howard hits another home run tonight (last time I predicted it, I nailed it right on the head).