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Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies

Photo: © Keeton10 | Dreamstime.com

After a high energy series with the Los Angeles Dodgers which saw the Padres lose two of three, the boys are coming back home after a lengthy ten game road trip in which they went 3-7. Tonight, they kick off a seven game home stand against the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals, as they continue headfirst into a difficult portion of their schedule. The Phillies are one of the three remaining teams with a losing record that the San Diego will face before the end of the year.

Let’s get to the series probables, and new this series, we’ll take a look at some hitters who can make a difference for both clubs.

 

Monday: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (3-7, 4.45 ERA) vs. LHP Travis Wood (2-4, 6.71 ERA)

In the opener of the series, the Phillies come in losers of three of their last four to the Mets. After dropping their series to the Padres earlier in the season, the Phillies are in danger of losing their first season series to the Padres since 2006. To try and continue their winning ways, they will send struggling righty Jerad Eickhoff to the mound, who is 1-5 with an ERA of 4.98 on the road this season. However, he’s been a bit better in the second half, going 2-0 with a 3.94 ERA in five starts since the All Star Break. In his only other start against the Padres this year Eickhoff went five shutout innings and got the only win of the series for the Phillies.

Taking the ball for the Padres is lefty Travis Wood, who will be making his fourth start for the Padres since being acquired from Kansas City. After getting rocked in Cincinnati his last time out, Wood will try to right the ship with his new club, as he has only posted one quality start of his first three with San Diego. If he is to have success this time around, Wood needs to be better as he progresses later into games. The first time through, his BAA is an average .265, but then increases to .292 his second time through, and a whopping .417 his third time through. If he can work deep into this one without much trouble, Wood will give the Padres a great chance to win.

 

Tuesday: TBD vs. RHP Dinelson Lamet (6-4, 5.00 ERA)

The Phillies have yet to name a starter for the middle game of the series, but when they do, he’ll face off against Padres rookie Dinelson Lamet. In his past five starts, Lamet has made solid progress in his development, as he has gone 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA and 30 Strikeouts, in 27.1 IP. Though Lamet labors in later innings and has struggled to give the Padres length, his strikeout potential is something that can’t be denied. Regardless of his run-stopping ability, he is likely a guarantee to strike more than a batter an inning (currently has a 11.2 K/9 rate), and since his start on July 18, he has lowered his ERA from 6.40 to an even 5.00. The Dominican rookie will look to continue his recent success at home.

 

Wednesday: RHP Nick Pivetta (4-7, 6.09 ERA) vs. LHP Clayton Richard (5-12, 5.14 ERA)

In the finale of the series, rookie right hander Nick Pivetta will start for the Phillies, opposed by veteran Clayton Richard. In his first full season, Pivetta has gotten off to a disappointing start, only winning four games and posting an ERA above six in 17 starts on the year. Pivetta hasn’t really been all that good this season, as he’s had an ERA above five in every single month of the season. In August especially, Pivetta has an ERA of 13.50 in two games started, getting rocked his past couple of times out. Wednesday, he’ll try and stop his dysmal slide through the dog days of summer.

Opposing the young rookie is Padres starter Clayton Richard. In his last game, Richard battled hard against a good Dodgers lineup, going six strong and allowing only three runs. That’s been the kind of mantra that Richard has embraced throughout the season: battle, battle, battle. Though his record leaves much to be desired, Richard has been a very valuable innings eater for San Diego in 2017, leading the team with 145.1 IP, and being the veteran leader on a young staff this year. Hopefully, he can make it back to back solid starts as he takes on the worst team in baseball.

 

Hitters to Watch

  • Rhys Hoskins: Since getting called up, the Phillies No. 6 prospect has struggled mightily. While he collected his first MLB hit this past weekend, Hoskins has yet to get another, as he is just 1-13 in his first four three MLB games. He’ll look to get it going this week against the Padres.
  • Cesar Hernandez: Since taking on a full role this year as the Phillies everyday second baseman, Hernandez has been very solid day in, day out. He’s hit .294 over 340 at-bats, and while he doesn’t hit for much power, he has stolen 12 bases, and posted a respectable 35-69 BB-K ratio. He’s been a stalwart for an otherwise abysmal Phillies offense.
  • Cory Spangenberg: He’s been pretty hot in his past five games, totaling at least one hit in each game and posting a .350 clip over his past 20 ABs. He also hit a pair of homers yesterday, his ninth and tenth of the year.  Since taking over for Ryan Schimpf at third (a 53 game sample), he’s been hitting an impressive .286/.357/.450.
  • Jose Pírela: Besides the game yesterday, Pírela has been white hot at the plate, posting an OPS of 1.097 in the month of August.  His average just dropped below .300, but he’s hovered around that number for the past few weeks, and has been a big producer in the heart of the Padres lineup.