Series Preview: Phillies open up 4 game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks
The Phillies came home after a rough west coast trip looking to get back in the win column. The failed to do that, after getting swept by the best team in the American League. The Tampa Bay Rays took both games against the Phillies at home after two games of inconsistent offense, sloppy defense, and questionable management decisions. The Phillies will now host the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four game series starting tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
After getting swept by the Rays, Bryce Harper stated that the Phillies are “wasting time.” Bryce, I’m here, as well as all of the Phillies faithful, to tell you that you’re not wrong. In fact, you’re actually completely right. The Phillies are wasting time and with only 36 games remaining in the 2021 MLB season, you and the rest of the Phillies team have dropped 10-of-14 games to fall back to .500 on the season with a 63-63 record. You are now five games back of the Atlanta Braves, who ran into the red hot New York Yankees this week and lost twice. The Phillies had the perfect chance to gain some ground back in the standings but of course, they did not.
The Phillies will now play four games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They will then play three games a piece against the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins heading into September. The Braves will play their next six games against the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. They will have to face the Giants again in mid-September for two games, and the San Diego Padres for three games. The Braves and the Phillies will then meet up at the end of September for a three game series.
Just looking at how things have went so far this season, I wouldn’t hold your breath when looking at the Phillies chances, but regardless, we are going to take this one series at a time and see where we can make up ground. There is literally no better opportunity than against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Let’s take a look at the pitching matchups for the four game series.
Saturday: Kyle Gibson (3-2, 3.77 ERA) vs Undecided (DBacks)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The pitching matchups are in the Phillies favor against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Zach Eflin will finally return to the Phillies’ starting rotation tonight to open up the four game series against the D-Backs. Eflin, who has been a consistent third starter for the Phillies all season, was sent to the injured list on July 20th. He has not pitched at the major league level since July 16th. The Phillies desperately need Eflin to come out and set the tone tonight against a terrible D-Backs team.
Aaron Nola will take the hill Friday night for the Phillies. Nola is going through one of the wildest seasons I’ve ever seen from a Phillies starter. One week he’s good, one week he’s bad. One week he looks like a Cy Young pitcher, then the next week he looks like he could be pitching in the minors. Nola has been extremely inconsistent this season, but we all know what Aaron can be. He showed that in San Diego, and was just one batter away from throwing a dominant complete game.
Kyle Gibson will get the ball on Saturday. Gibson has been very good in his time with the Phillies, giving solid innings out of the fourth spot every game. He’ll need to keep up his good pitching to give this team a chance to win. Ranger Suarez will round out the series on Sunday for the Phillies. Suarez has been outstanding since being moved to the starting role, shutting batters down left and right. Now off of his pitch count, Ranger will look to dive deeper into games and continue that dominance in the later innings.
It’s the little things that this team does that makes them who they are. Good teams do not consistently make fielding errors. Good teams don’t have their offense completely disappear when one player (Rhys Hoskins) is out of the lineup. Good teams do not fail time and time again to make the right decisions on whether or not to keep a pitcher in a tie ball game after letting up a leadoff single. The Phillies do all of that, which makes it hard to think that things will change this late into the season.
Back to .500, where they floated around all season, and as we all know, nothing has been going right for the Phils recently. They need to crack down this weekend, and gain some ground back in the standings. With your opponent going up against the best teams in the NL, and the Phils playing the team with the worst record in the National League, there are absolutely zero excuses.
Although the hunt for Red October continues to get more difficult with each painful loss, the Phillies technically still have several opportunities to make up ground in the standings. Rhys Hoskins’ health will be an important factor, as well as cleaning up defensive mistakes and getting the top half of their rotation back on track over the last 36 games of the season.
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