Phillies looking for Velasquez to deliver series victory
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin considers Vince Velasquez the only power pitcher in his starting rotation. That could spell trouble for the Padres in the finale of a four-game series on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
Against pitchers with similar repertoires and fastball velocities (93-plus mph average fastball) -- Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen and Jake McGee among them -- San Diego has combined for just six hits in 69 at-bats (0.087 average). Velasquez will have the advantage of relative anonymity as well since no Padres hitter has faced the 23-year-old pitcher.
Set to oppose San Diego starter Drew Pomeranz, Velasquez will be looking to top a stellar season debut -- shutting down the Mets with six scoreless innings and nine strikeouts on April 9.
"It was fun to watch," Mackanin said. "He's going to be a good one. Coachable, great kid, a true competitor."
Pomeranz won his Padres debut, allowing two runs in five innings with seven strikeouts against the Rockies on Saturday.
Things to know about this game • Neither team swept a four-game series in 2015. Each won two of nine, including the Padres taking three of four in their first four-gamer of last season against the Giants.
• The Phillies have only combined for 15 total at-bats against Pomeranz. In 2012, Carlos Ruiz doubled and hit an RBI single while Pomeranz was still with the Rockies.
• Despite committing to platoons at first base and left field, the Phillies can't be looking forward to facing the lefty Pomeranz. In 60 at-bats this season, Philadelphia has posted only a .479 OPS against southpaws.