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Game #11: Jennings vs. Lieber

These are the games I like going to because you can see a juxtaposition of forces that could turn the results dramatically across a spectrum depending which currents prevail. Jon Lieber had a very shaky debut for the Phils before bouncing back with an alright start at Los Angeles. But the number of hits Lieber gave up in LA belies a pitcher who is becoming a bit more vulnerable than he was in his prime. Plus, the Rockies are seeing the ball well right now and a bunch of  hits allowed in LA translates to a disaster waiting to happen in Denver.

But wait, Lieber also K's his opposition at a pretty high rate and thrives on fooling aggressive batters. Take a look at our batters and tell me they aren't aggressive. Well, except for Garrett Atkins and Todd Helton, that is. Anyway, that's one side, on the other you have JJ coming in with his smooth sinker and a newfound April confidence he's lacked throughout his career. So far, against weaker competition, he's fooled enough hitters to look better than he probably has actually pitched. The Phillies have some talented hitters however, and players like Bobby Abreu, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley always seem to get just enough wood on the ball to make things happen.

For our side, JJ has to pitch more like he did in game one, and not rely on the Phillies being as inept as the Padres at plating runs. So far for the season Jennings has gotten as many hitters out on the fly as he has on the ground (15 of each). This isn't going to help him in the long run and I'd like to see a couple of signs of change, there.