Raul Ibanez: Great Signing For Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies made a great move during the offseason when they signed Raul Ibanez to a three year contract for $31.5 million.
Ibanez has hit six homers and driven in 17 runs in his last ten games for the Phillies and has eight homers and 23 runs batted in during the month of May with several games left this month.
He is tied with Adrian Gonzalez for the major league lead in homers with each player having 15. He is third in the majors and first in the NL in runs batted in with 40.
Ibanez is projected by ESPN.com to hit 62 homers and drive in 166 runs by the end of the season and have 222 hits.
He more or less replaced Pat Burrell in the Phillies lineup this season. Burrell is on the disabled list for the Rays and before going on the DL he had one homer and 17 runs batted in in 108 at bats.
So Ibanez has 14 more homers and 33 more runs batted in than Burrell so the Phillies made the right move by letting Burrell go to the Rays.
Ibanez is leading all major leaguers with at least 100 at bats in slugging with a .724 mark. Next is Kevin Youkilis with a .701 slugging percentage.
He is second in extra base hits with 26 with only Evan Longoria having more with 28. He leads the NL in OPS with a 1.134 mark.
The offensive spark provided by Ibanez has helped the Phillies lead the Mets by a game and a half in the NL East despite being 27th in ERA. The Phillies are second in the NL in runs scored.
Ibanez and the Phillies are looking forward to hitting in the new Yankee Stadium as they start a three game series there tonight. However the Yankees are looking forward to facing Brett Myers who will start for the Phillies. Myers and Jamie Moyer lead the majors in most home runs allowed with 12 each.
Best Matchups Tonight
Phillies at Yankees: This should be an interesting game with so much firepower in one game. The Yankees will feature Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira while Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Raul Ibanez see for themselves what it is like to hit in the new Yankee Stadium which has become the latest homer haven in the majors.
Mets at Red Sox: Johan Santana 5-2 will face Daisuke Matsuzaka 0-1 who is starting his first game since April 14th.
Blue Jays at Braves: Roy Halladay 8-1 will try to become the first pitcher to win nine games against the Braves who will send a struggling Kenshin Kawakami 2-5 to the mound.
Pirates at White Sox: Zach Duke 5-3 who has won his last two starts will be opposing Gavin Floyd 2-4 who hasn’t won since April 19. Floyd has allowed 20 runs and 24 hits over his last three starts which encompassed 15 innings. He has an ERA of 12.00 this month.
Cubs at Padres: Carlos Zambrano 3-1 will make his first start since May 3 against Jake Peavy 3-5 who used his no trade rights yesterday to nix a trade to the White Sox. Peavy had also been mentioned last offseason as being possibly being traded to the Cubs.
Giants at Mariners: Randy Johnson 3-4 will try for his 299th win tonight. Johnson has allowed 18 runs and 27 hits in 14 innings over his last three starts. Johnson will be facing Jason Vargas 1-0 who has a 1.29 ERA and has allowed only two runs in 14 innings.