It’s not about how you start it’s about how you finish, and the Phillies made sure they ended their West Coast trip on the right note. The offense came alive late to take the lead, and then Hector Neris came in and got five outs to close out the game and the series for the Phillies. After that six game stint in California, the team will now head back home to host the Cincinnati Reds for a three game series.
This is a very winnable series for the Phillies. The Reds have not been a good team on the road, and the Phillies play much better baseball in their home park. With the Braves losing yesterday, the Phillies now have a game and half lead in the division. A series win is crucial in creating more space in the division race before the Phillies head to Atlanta to face the Braves next weekend.
Game one: Zach Eflin (5-5, 3.02 ERA) vs. Tyler Mahle (2-5, 4.26 ERA)
Game two: Nick Pivetta (3-1, 6.14 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (4-4, 3.47 ERA)
Game three: Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.63 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (2-5, 3.54 ERA)
Zach Eflin will be making his return to the Phillies to kick off this series after missing his last start due to injury. Eflin has pitched his best baseball at home this season. In four starts at Citizens Bank Park, he is 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA. We will see Nick Pivetta on the mound in game two where he will look to continue his hot play. In his last start he had an amazing outing against a very good Dodgers team. He pitched six innings and only allowed three hits while racking up nine strikeouts. The ace will take the mound in game three and will be looking to bounce back. Nola’s last start against the Padres did not go well, so coming back home and taking the hill against a struggling team at home is just what he needs to get back on track.
The Phillies need to come out and look to sweep this series. Cincinnati is currently last in their division, and the Phillies are barely holding on to the division lead. The Phillies’ offense picked up on the backend of the road trip, so hopefully the bats can stay hot as they come back to Citizens Bank Park. They are also facing three pitchers with under five wins and ERA’s in the mid threes to high fours. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of a struggling team and really get hot with the All-Star break slowly closing in.
Stats to keep an eye on
- As a team the Reds are only hitting .223 on the road this season.
- Rhys Hoskins has been great at home this season; he is currently batting .283 with a .424 OBP in his home park.
- Scott Kingery caught fire on the West Coast trip, currently batting .308 with a .357 OBP over his last seven games.
- New addition Jay Bruce has stepped in and made an immediate impact for the Phillies. In the series against the Padres, he racked up six hits, three home runs, and seven runs batted in.