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Phillies Firing On All Cylinders, Cliff Lee Pitches Against Arizona

Precision. Intensity. Excellence.

These words (and many more) describe the four game series that the Philadlephia Phillies played against the San Diego Padres in Petco Park this previous weekend.

The pitching was efficient, the offense was sufficient, and the dismantling of the Padres was completed with a 3-1 victory on Sunday afternoon.

I took a trip to San Diego this weekend, checking out the Phillies/Padres tilt on Friday night. Cole Hamels was masterful on the mound, pitching eight strong innings to help deliver a 2-0 victory for the Phightin' Phils.

Before the season, everyone was raving about Philadelphia's starting rotation, which features four aces and a fifth starter (Joe Blanton) who is well known for his toughness.

The offense was given the backseat, and for good reason: the Phillies were mostly unable to solve San Diego's solid pitching, scoring only 12 runs over the four victories this weekend.

What does it all mean? The Phillies are 15-6, even with star second baseman Chase Utley on the disabled list. Cliff Lee is pitching tonight, facing off against Ian Kennedy

What should Diamondbacks fans expect tonight from Philadelphia? Here's a few things I noticed at the game on Friday:

1. The team works quickly while playing the field. There isn't much lapse in between pitches, and the high quality of the pitching staff generally makes short work of the opposition. Game lengths this weekend: 3:17, 2:17, 2:50, 2:10. Considering the average length of a Yankees/Red Sox game (somewhere in the neighborhood of four hours), the Phillies don't waste time on the small stuff.

2. The offense isn't very good right now, but they are still dangerous: Without Utley, the Phillies lineup is decidedly less scary. Still, a lineup staffed with Shane Victorino, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Raul Ibanez is enough to win most games when your pitching is so effective.

After a rough road series against the Mets in New York, the Diamondbacks need to come out with a lot of intensity tonight to stand a chance against Lee and the Phillies.