Phillies and Dodgers clash this weekend as the NL’s top two ball clubs

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Dodger Stadium hosts top two teams in the NL this weekend

The Los Angeles Dodgers (38-19) are the two-time defending National League champions and have captured six consecutive NL West Division crowns. They are once again riding high atop the division as we enter the month of June.

This weekend at Dodger Stadium, these two teams will meet for the first of two times this season. They will meet again in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park just after the MLB All-Star Game in mid-July. The Phillies and Dodgers are the top two teams in the National League to this point in the season, but they have reached that status in very different manners.
The Phillies have been inconsistent in nearly every facet of the game statistically. They are out-performing those stats, fashioning their winning record and frustrating their fans by looking awful in one game and then like world-beaters in the other two games pf most every series.
Meanwhile out in LA-LA Land, the Dodgers have been truly dominating. Offensively, they lead the league in runs scored, OPS and walks, are third in home runs, and are second in stolen-base percentage.
On the mound, Dodgers pitchers have the lowest cumulative ERA in the NL. They lead the league in batting average against, Quality Starts, and OPS against while allowing the fewest walks in the league. The club is also among the more solid defensive units in the league.
The Phillies have gone 20-11 over the last month, and have won nine of their last 13 despite dropping the series finale to Saint Louis on Thursday. During what is arguably the toughest 23-game portion of their 2019 regular season schedule, the Phillies are now 10-7. That stretch comes to an end with this west coast trip to Los Angeles and San Diego over the next six days.
This will be a major test for the Phillies, a chance to measure themselves against the very best in the National League on the road. Even winning one of three games this weekend could be considered a victory. But the Phillies want more than that. They have taken and held first place by winning series, and that will be the goal once again.
There is a tremendous history between these two clubs. The Dodgers defeated the Phillies in the 1977 and 1978 National League Championship Series, the first of those including what has become known as “Black Friday” in Phillies lore, one of the toughest defeats in team history. The Phillies responded by dumping the Dodgers in the 2008 and 2009 NLCS.
And then there was the infamous 1988 battle at Veteran’s Stadium between Dodgers then-skipper Tommy LaSorda and the Phillie Phanatic:

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

Cody Bellinger: The early-line favorite for the National League Most Valuable Player Award, Bellinger has accumulated quite the highlight reel over the season’s first two months at the plate and in the field. He is slashing .377/.464/.754 with 20 homers, 52 RBIs, 50 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. Formerly the starting first baseman, Bellinger was flipped out to right field in early May. Perhaps some good news for the Phillies? Bellinger is hitting just .250 over his last 10 games. However, he has four homers, seven extra-base hits, and 10 RBIs in that time, so his bat has remained impactful.
Justin Turner: Now in his 11th big-league season, the 34-year-old with the fiery red hair who has finished among the top 15 in NL MVP voting for three straight years is enjoying another solid season. The third baseman has been hot over his last nine games, slashing .359/.405/.513 with nine runs scored.
Joc Pederson: A 27-year-old lefty bat and left fielder, Pederson is another of the hot Dodgers bats. He is slashing .483/.559/.862 over his last nine games with six extra-base hits, seven RBIs, and nine runs scored in that stretch. Having banged 11 of his 16 home runs at home, Pederson will be a major challenge to Phillies pitching this weekend.
Max Muncy: Another of the big Dodgers left-handed bats, the 28-year-old Muncy has mostly started at first base but will also be used at both second and third base at times. His 33 RBIs are second on the club, while his 11 homers and 21 extra-base hits are third. Like a number of the others described here, Muncy has been hot. Over the past two weeks he is slashing .296/.387/.574 with nine extra-base hits and 14 runs scored over his last 14 games.
Alex Verdugo: You guessed it, the 23-year-old Verdugo is yet another big left-handed stick in the Dodgers lineup. With the injury to A.J. Pollock, Verdugo has taken over as the starting center fielder, his first chance to get into the everyday lineup on a full-time basis now in his third season. He is slashing .322/.376/.521 on the season and his RBI per plate appearances mark is second in the starting lineup.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Hyun-Jin Ryu: the Phillies are not scheduled to see Ryu in this series, which is probably the one piece of good news when considering all of the Dodgers stars. The 32-year-old southpaw from South Korea is enjoying his best big-league season after missing half of 2018 with a lingering groin injury. Ryu is 8-1 with a 1.48 ERA and 284 ERA+, both of which lead all of Major League Baseball. His 0.808 WHIP leads the National League, and he has allowed just 54 hits over 73 innings across 11 starts with a 69/5 K:BB ratio.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

Kenta Maeda (31): Friday – RHP, 6-2, 3.67 ERA, 1.172 WHIP, 46 hits over 56.1 IP across 10 starts with a 56/20 K:BB
Clayton Kershaw (31): Saturday – LHP, 5-0, 3.46 ERA, 1.077 WHIP, 47 hits over 52 IP across eight starts with a 49/9 K:BB
Rich Hill (39): Sunday – LHP, 1-1, 2.73 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 30 hits over 33 IP across six starts with a 37/6 K:BB

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECESD

Chris Taylor: 2B/SS/OF – .237/.305/.410, four homers, 19 RBIs, 14 extra-base hits over 155 plate appearances
David Freese: 1B/3B – .269/.412/.500, four homers, 14 RBIs, 10 extra-base hits over 97 plate appearances
Russell Martin: C – .246/.363/.369, four extra-base hits including two homers over 80 plate appearances. The 14-year veteran and rookie Will Smith will split time behind the plate in this series with starting catcher Austin Barnes on the IL.

THE SKIPPER

Dave Roberts is in his fourth season as the Dodgers manager. He guided the club to the NL West crown in his first three seasons, and to the National League pennant and a World Series berth in both of the last two years. He has a career 325-219 record as skipper with LA following on a 10-year career as a player with five different teams. Roberts played with the Dodgers from 2002-04.
He is famed for a stolen base in the 2004 ALCS while with the Red Sox that sparked Boston to a rally from down 3-0 in the series to the Yankees. Boston would rally to win that series in seven games, then would break the 86-year ‘Curse of the Bambino‘ to win their first World Series. Roberts’ steal is now legendary in Boston.

THE BALLPARK

Dodger Stadium is also known in some circles by the nickname “Chavez Ravine” after the 352-acre location in which it was constructed. Opened for the 1962 season, it became the Dodgers second home after the franchise moved west from Brooklyn following the 1957 campaign. The Dodgers played their first four years on the west coast at the Los Angeles Memorial Colisseum.
The beautiful ballpark is now the oldest in Major League Baseball west of the Mississippi River, and third-oldest in MLB behind only Wrigley Field in Chicago and Fenway Park in Boston. It is also the largest baseball stadium in the world by seating capacity, capable of fitting 56,000 fans on an official basis. The record attendance is 57,099 for the 2009 season opener.
Dodger Stadium’s outfield fence is 400-feet to dead-center field, 330-feet down the lines in both right and left fields, and 375-feet to both right and left-center field.
Little known fact: the entire Palo Verde elementary school was simply buried beneath the parking lot northwest of third base when the ballpark and parking lots were constructed.

LOS ANGELES SERIES WEATHER REPORT

As usual with LA, there is a near-zero percent chance of any rain during this three-game series. The high temps are forecast to be right around 70 degrees, overnight lows in the upper-50’s. Temps will be in the 60’s for the bulk of all three games with light winds and moderate humidity. Bottom line: if you chose to make the trip to Los Angeles for any or all of these games, you will experience perfect baseball weather.
Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Phillies series opposition preview: Los Angeles Dodgers”

The inevitable Bryce Harper breakout is unfolding before our eyes

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Bryce Harper has finally gotten on an extended hot roll

In late February, at the end of an off-season that was psychologically grueling for the Philadelphia Phillies fan base, club management led by principal owner John Middleton finally nailed down the big free agent prize they had been chasing all winter.

When 26-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper agreed to his 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies, those fans saw it as a signal that their team was back and ready to contend. Harper would be the linchpin of a revamped Phillies lineup, bashing balls with record-setting frequency over the Citizens Bank Park fences.
But as the Phillies worked their way to the top of the National League East Division standings over the first seven weeks of the season, Harper largely struggled.
Through May 14, a period covering his first 41 games in red pinstripes, Harper was hitting just .219 with a .432 slugging percentage. While he was on pace to drive in and score close to 100 runs and blast 25 home runs, that was a far cry from what many in the vocal Philly sports fan base expected in return for the big dollars.
Also, Harper was striking out at an alarming rate. He was on pace for more than 200 strikeouts, which would eclipse his previous career-high of 169 whiffs set just last season.
It wasn’t that Harper was showing a bad eye at the plate. He was also on a pace to walk more than 140 times, which would also surpass the career-high 130 free passes which he drew a year ago, a figure which led all of Major League Baseball.

But those fans who were starting to once again fill up the South Philly ballpark, who were following the team more closely on TV, didn’t want to see Harper working walks like some leadoff man. They wanted bombs, jacks, home runs – preferably of the majestic variety.
Callers to local sports talk radio outlets and posters on social media wanted to see Harper become a more consistently dynamic offensive presence in the middle of the Phillies lineup.
Their wish has been granted.

As could be predicted, Harper has begun rounding into form over the last couple of weeks. In the previous 11 games leading up to Thursday afternoon’s series finale with Saint Louis, Harper was slashing .318/.367/.636 with three homers, 13 RBIs, eight extra-base hits, and seven runs scored.
Then in that Thursday loss to the Cardinals, Harper stayed red hot. He went 3-4 with a pair of doubles and drove in a run. One of the doubles just barely missed becoming his 11th home run of the year. The two doubles give him 18 on the season, way ahead of the six which he had at this same time a year ago.
Harper is now on nearly a 30-homer and a nearly 50-doubles pace, and rising. He is also on pace to score nearly 100 runs and drive in roughly 120. His batting average, which had fallen to .219 on May 14, is up to the much more acceptable .252 mark following today’s three-hit game.

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The ’ Bryce Harper on hitting the ball well despite not walking that much:

See Tom Moore’s other Tweets

Even when he wasn’t hitting well, Harper was contributing to the Phillies strong start. He was consistently making excellent plays on defense in right field, and hustling on the base paths. On that idea of always playing hard, Harper was quoted by Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia after another three-hit night helped the Phillies to a victory on Wednesday night:
That’s what the fans expect, that’s what I expect and I know my mom and dad are watching at home and that’s what they expect, too. So you just have to play the game hard and play it right.

Harper is going to be just fine. He is everything that the Phillies hoped he would be when they signed him. And those fans who were so vocal in a negative manner just a couple of weeks ago? Well, they’ve been silenced – for now. We know this is Philly, and he is just another inevitable slump away from the critics re-emerging. Let’s hope they have to wait awhile for their next chance.

Phillies will try for a rare 2019 series sweep in Cardinals finale

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Gabe Kapler has the Phillies in first despite inability to sweep series

This will be the finale of a three-game series between the two clubs, as well as the final meeting between them scheduled for the 2019 regular season.

The two teams have battled the weather in the first two games, as a major wave of powerful thunderstorms has been pushing through the area. Each of those first two contests was delayed at the outset by an hour or more.
This afternoon’s game should get underway as scheduled. The chance of precipitation is low at first pitch time and throughout the game. However, between 4-6 pm another round of storms is expected to roll through the area. Hopefully the game will be concluded before those arrive. Once begun, neither of the series first two games was actually delayed at any point.
This is also the lone series at home for manager Gabe Kapler and the Phillies in the middle of a stretch in which they play 13 of 16 on the road. They are now 10-6 during what we described weeks ago as a 23-game “crucible” of a test against tough teams from outside their division.
With the team immediately leaving for a west coast road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego, this will be the home fans last chance to see the Phillies until next Friday. That means that it’s also the last time to enjoy the antics of the Phillie Phanatic at Citizens Bank Park until next weekend.


THURSDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen LF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  6. Scott Kingery CF
  7. Andrew Knapp C
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Jerad Eickhoff P

CARDINALS LINEUP

  1. Kolten Wong 2B
  2. Paul DeJong SS
  3. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  4. Marcell Ozuna LF
  5. Jose Martinez RF
  6. Matt Wieters C
  7. Jedd Gyorko 3B
  8. Harrison Bader CF
  9. Dakota Hudson P

INJURY REPORT

CARDINALS: Remain mostly healthy with just a pair of relievers on the IL in RH Mike Mayers and LH Brett Cecil
PHILLIES: Bullpen remains depleted with the following on the IL – Adam MorganDavid RobertsonPat NeshekTommy HunterEdubray RamosVictor Arano. Outfielder Roman Quinn also remains out. None are due back until some time in June at the earliest.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Jerad Eickhoff: 2-2, 3,86 ERA, 1.190 WHIP, 35 hits allowed over 42 innings across eight games (seven starts) with a 39/15 K:BB ratio.
  • The Phillies 28-year-old right-hander is making third career start vs Saint Louis: 1-1, 1.93 ERA, nine hits allowed over 14 innings. At Busch Stadium back on May 8, Eickhoff went eight innings and registered his most recent win on the season, allowing just three hits.
  • Eickhoff has pitched poorly over his last three starts: 17 hits allowed over 12 innings with an 8/4 K:BB. He has a .333 batting average against and has surrendered seven home runs in that span, lasting no more than five innings.
  • Dakota Hudson: 3-3, 4.22 ERA, 1.631 WHIP, 63 hits allowed over 53.1 innings across 11 games (10 starts) with a 38/24 K:BB ratio.
  • Hudson is a 24-year-old righty from Chattanooga, Tennessee who was the Cardinals supplemental first round pick at 34th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft out of Mississippi State University.
  • Hudson has made one career start previously vs the Phillies, that coming back on May 7 this season. He lasted five innings during an 11-1 Phillies victory, allowing eight runs (just two earned) on seven hits and three walks at Busch Stadium.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • After dropping the first two games of this series, the Cardinals are now just 6-18 over their last 24 games. They have fallen from first place with a 3.5 game lead in the NL Central at the start of this poor stretch to now fourth place, five games out.
  • The Phillies have now won five of their last six games and nine of 12. They are also 20-10 over the last month, building a 3.5 game lead (four in the loss column) in the NL East Division standings. The club has spent just seven days all season out of first place, none lower than second place.
  • Phillies will be going for just their third series sweep of the 2019 season. Each of the others came at Citizens Bank Park: Atlanta in the season’s first series back in late March, and Colorado two weeks ago.
  • After this game the Phillies will travel out for their first west coast trip of the season. They visit the NL’s top team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, for three over this coming weekend. That will be followed by three in San Diego against Manny Machado and the Padres to open next week.
  • Today will be another “Throwback Thursday” game, with the Phillies wearing the old powder blue style uniforms worn by the team for road games during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

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Phillies and Cardinals try to dodge tornadoes to get in series opener

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A wave of strong storms is due to hit Philly this week

Weather permitting, the Philadelphia Phillies (31-22) will host the Saint Louis Cardinals (26-26) on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia.

That weather should indeed prove a major factor per The Weather Channel. There is a 75% chance of storms at the scheduled 7:05pm first pitch time, increasing to 95% between 8-9pm and continuing at 60% by 9pm as the storm system which spawned damaging tornadoes in Ohio last night moves through our area.
If they play, the Phillies will continue to try extending their solid work during this current rough stretch of the schedule. Beginning on May 13 the club began a stretch that we have referred to here at Phillies Nation as a 23-game “crucible” of games. All are against competition outside the division, all against winning or traditionally tough opposition.
To this point the club has gone 8-6 over the first two weeks of this stretch. After this current three-game series with the Cardinals concludes, the Phillies will head out to the west coast to visit the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
The Phillies took two of three from the Cardinals out in Saint Louis earlier this month, getting shutout in the opener but then roaring back to dominate the final two games. That is what the Phillies are trying to accomplish, win series, as they attempt to return to the postseason for the first time in eight years.
With today’s breaking news that Odubel Herrera was arrested following an incident at an Atlantic City casino in which he has been charged with domestic assault of his 20-year-old girlfriend, the Phillies have re-called Nick Williams. The club has also re-called pitcher Nick Pivetta, and both players will be in tonight’s starting lineup.

TUESDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen CF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto C
  6. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  7. Scott Kingery 3B
  8. Nick Williams LF
  9. Nick Pivetta

CARDINALS LINEUP

  1. Dexter Fowler RF
  2. Paul Goldschmidt 1B
  3. Paul DeJong SS
  4. Marcell Ozuna LF
  5. Matt Carpenter 3B
  6. Yadier Molina C
  7. Kolten Wong 2B
  8. Harrison Bader CF
  9. Adam Wainwright P

INJURY REPORT

CARDINALS: one of the healthiest teams in the game, the Cards only key player on the IL is lefty reliever Brett Cecil. He is suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome in his left throwing arm and could return sometime in June.
PHILLIES: as we all know, the Phils bullpen has been seriously depleted by injuries with the following arms all on the IL: David RobertsonVictor AranoTommy HunterPat NeshekEdubray Ramos. Outfielder Roman Quinn is also on the IL with a groin strain. He took batting practice last week, and could return in early June. None of the pitchers is due back this series.

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Nick Pivetta: 2-1, 8.35 ERA, 2.127 WHIP, 31 hits allowed over 18.1 IP with a 16/8 K:BB
  • Adam Wainwright: 4-4, 4.82 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 51 hits over 52.1 IP with a 41/23 K:BB

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • The Phillies won the season series a year ago 4-3. They’ll try to do the same this season after taking two of three earlier this month.
  • Phillies have won 18 of 28 home games this season and their .643 winning percentage at home ranks T-5th in MLB. Phillies have drawn a total of 1,006,503 fans in 28 home games this season, an average of 35,946 per game which ranks 6th in MLB
  • Phillies have won 18 of their last 29 games (4/25-current) and their .621 winning percentage in that span is tied for the second-best record in the National League
  • In his last start against STL on 6/18/18, Pivetta struck out a career-high 13 batters
  • Lefty reliever Adam Morgan has not allowed a HR to his last 118 LHH (since 6/7/18) and only 1 HR to the last 193 LHH he faced (since 8/2/17)
  • Closer Hector Neris has converted 12 straight saves since 5/21/18 (2nd-longest streak of his career) and 20 of 23 since the start of last season. In those last 12 save opportunities, has pitched 13.2 IP and allowed 1 run on 5 H and 2 BB with 20 K’s.

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Phillies welcome in the Saint Louis Cardinals for three late-May games

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The Saint Louis Cardinals visit Philly for three late-May games

Saint Louis Cardinals (26-26) of the NL Central Division in a three-game series scheduled to begin on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies remain on top of the NL East Division standings by 1.5 games, two in the loss column, over the Atlanta Braves. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have been slumping, falling to four games off the pace set by their arch-rival Chicago Cubs.
Earlier this month, the Phillies took two of three games from the Cards in a series at Busch Stadium. Saint Louis won the opener in a 6-0 shutout, then the Phils stormed back for 11-1 and 5-0 wins to take the series.
After a victory on May 1 over the Washington Nationals, the Cardinals sat 10 games over the .500 mark and three games up in their division. But since that time they have collapsed, dropping 16 of their last 22 games.
The main culprit has been their anemic offensive attack, which has put more than four runs on the scoreboard just nine times in that stretch. However, their pitching staff has also allowed the opposition to score in double-digits four times during what has turned into a nightmarish month of May.
The Cardinals scoring offense has produced similar results to the Phillies over the full course of the season. They are averaging exactly five runs scored per game, while the Phillies average is at 4.96 per game.
Saint Louis is 7th and the Phillies 8th ranked in the National League in OPS, and the Cards have slugged three more home runs. They are also much more prone to run, ranking in a tie for 2nd in the NL in stolen bases with 30, while the Phillies 17 steals puts them near the bottom of the league.
The Cardinals pitching staff is 5th in the NL in batting average against (.241), far better than the Phillies staff (.259) rank of 14th in the league. Neither staff is particularly overpowering, with the Phillies hurlers ranking 12th and the Cardinals pitchers 13th in the NL in strikeouts.
I’ve been talking for a couple of weeks now about this crucible of a schedule stretch which the Phillies are currently navigating their way through. To this point they have held their own, going 8-6 against tough opposition over the last two weeks.
This grueling stretch of games against talented teams will head back out on the road following this brief home series with Saint Louis. The Phillies will travel out to face the National League’s top team and the winners of the last two NL pennants, the Los Angeles Dodgers, over the weekend. The stretch will then end early next week with three games at improved San Diego.
Winning series. That’s what it continues to be all about for these 2019 Phillies. Taking at least two of three here against Saint Louis will be important before heading out to the west coast.

SAINT LOUIS CARDINALS

TOP LINEUP THREATS

  • Paul Goldschmidt: The 31-year-old first baseman was traded from Arizona to Saint Louis back in December for three prospects and a draft pick. He is slashing .264/.357/.433 and is second on the club with 10 homers. An NL All-Star for the last six straight seasons. Runner-up for the NL MVP in both 2013 and 2015, 3rd in voting in 2017. Three-time Gold Glover and four-time Silver Slugger Award winner.
  • Marcell Ozuna: The 28-year-old right fielder was acquired during the Miami Marlins fire sale back in December 2017 for four prospects. He is slashing .230/.316/.508 and leads the club with 14 homers and 45 RBIs.
  • Paul DeJong: A 25-year-old shortstop who was runner-up for the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Award, DeJong has broken out as a potential All-Star this season. He is slashing .295/.396/.518 and has been the club’s most consistent offensive performer, leading the team with 26 extra-base hits and 39 runs scored.

SPOTLIGHT PLAYER

Yadier Molina: The perennial NL All-Star and possible future Hall of Famer turnes 37-years-old in mid-July. He has been an NL All-Star in nine of the last 10 seasons, and won eight Gold Gloves at catcher over the last 11 years. Molina is hitting .317 over the course of his big-league career against the Phillies, and his 11 homers against them are the most he has hit against any non-divisional opponent. He is hitting .309 with seven of those homers coming at Citizens Bank Park.

SCHEDULED STARTING PITCHERS

  • Adam Wainwright (37): 4-4, 4.82 ERA, 1.414 WHIP, 51 hits allowed over 52.1 IP including 8 HR with a 41/23 K:BB
  • Genesis Cabrera (22): a native of the Dominican Republic, this will be his big-league debut.
  • Dakota Hudson (24): 3-3, 4.22 ERA, 1.631 WHIP, 63 hits over 53.1 IP including 9 HR with a 38/24/K:BB

KEY BENCH & BULLPEN PIECES

  • Harrison Bader: 25-year-old righty bat outfielder slashing .265/.379/.449
  • Matt Wieters: 33-year-old backup catcher formerly starter with Orioles is slashing .333/.346/.458
  • Michael Wacha: 27-year-old righty was just moved to the bullpen after making nine starts
  • Jordan Hicks: 22-year-old second-year righty has 10 Saves as the closer, with a 4.24 ERA and 1.235 WHIP
  • John Gant: 26-year-old righty having strong season with 1.26 ERA, 0.698 WHIP, 31/8 K:BB over 28.2 IP
  • John Brebbia: 29-year old righty also strong with a 1.61 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 33/10 K:BB over 28 IP
  • Andrew Miller: 34-year-old lefty famous with Indians, 4.19 ERA, 1.397 WHIP, 25/10 K:BB over 19.1 IP

THE SKIPPER

Mike Shildt is in his second season at the helm after taking over around the mid-point of last season. He took over from longtime skipper Mike Matheny with the club just a game over the .500 mark in third place and 7.5 out in the division. Club went 41-28 under his guidance, finishing just three games out of an NL Wildcard berth.
The 50-year old Schildt was a scout and minor league coach in the Cardinals organziation. He was given a chance to  manage with their short-season affiliates back in 2009 and rose through their organizational and coaching ranks, becoming third base coach in Saint Louis in 2017. Schildt was named the interim manager after Matheny was fired, and then in late August 2018 was given a three-year contract and became the permanent skipper.

PHILLY SERIES WEATHER REPORT

This could be a touch-and-go series as far as the Philadelphia weather goes. There is a 90% chance of precipitation on Tuesday and 80% on Wednesday, dropping to 40% or less on Thursday. There is a strong chance of storms just prior to game time for Tuesday’s opener, and then a 90-95% chance of thunderstorms between 7-9pm.
For Wednesday, there is a 60% chance of storms at the scheduled first-pitch time after an afternoon of rain. However, once that system passes the chances or precipitation drop to 15% by 8pm. Thursday looks fine at this point, but with a chance of afternoon storms.