Series Preview: Phillies welcome the AL Central first place Minnesota Twins to Citizens Bank Park
Fresh off taking 3 of 4 from the Washington Nationals, the Philadelphia Phillies will host the Minnesota Twins this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.
Phillies Hunt for Red October
With no other team in the NL Wild Card hunt playing last night, the Phillies were able to add some more distance from the pack, now holding onto the top spot with a 1.5 game advantage on the San Francisco Giants.
On the season, the Phillies improved to a season-high 12 games over the .500 mark at 64-52. They are 7-3 over their last 10 games and have now pulled within single digits of the NL East leading Atlanta Braves, only 9.5 games out of first place.
Bryce Harper Day to Day with mid-back spasms
Bryce Harper left last night’s game early with what is being considered day to day mid-back spasms. Let’s hope that it’s nothing too serious, but I highly doubt he’ll be in the lineup tonight.
Tough break for Harp, who was finally heating up in the month of August. On the season, Harper is batting .293 with an .809 OPS. He has seven home runs and 38 RBI. Over his last 30 games, Harper is slashing .279/.352/.459 with 4 home runs and 15 RBI.
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Atop the AL Central: Minnesota Twins
The Minnesota Twins are an interesting baseball team. I wouldn’t say they are necessarily a “good” squad but they do sit in first place in the underperforming AL Central at 60-57.
The Twins are 6-4 over their last 10 games and hold a 27-33 away record and will enter tonight’s game after losing 3 out of 4 games to the Detroit Tigers on the road.
Twins vs Phillies – Starting Pitchers
- Dallas Keuchel vs Cristopher Sanchez
- Pablo Lopez vs Taijuan Walker
- Sonny Gray vs Ranger Suarez
Dallas Keuchel vs Cristopher Sanchez
Dallas Keuchel will take the mound for Minnesota tonight, making his second start of the 2023 MLB season. In case you’re not familiar, Keuchel is a former Cy Young winner and World Series champion. He’s battled injuries and was then a member of the Twins’ Triple A affiliate before joining the starting rotation after Joe Ryan went down with an injury.
In his only start this year, Keuchel pitched five innings, allowing eight hits and one earned run against the D-Backs on August 6th.
Opposing Keuchel will be Cristopher Sanchez for the Phillies.
Up until his last start, Sanchez proved that he was a viable option for the Phillies’ fifth man in the starting rotation. Sanchez then got shelled against the Kansas City Royals on August 5th, allowing six earned runs in five innings of work while striking out seven.
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It’s All Coming Together for the Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies improved to 5-2 on their current home stand after taking 2 of 3 from the Royals and 3 of 4 from the Nationals. Finally, it looks like we have the team clicking on all cylinders for the first time this season.
Trea Turner, since fans showered him with standing ovations, has finally looked like the 10-year $300 million shortstop the Phillies signed before the start of the 2023 season. He enters tonight on a seven-game hitting streak since the night of his ovation in Philly. He’s hitting .385 with a 1.176 OPS in that span.
Is that just because it’s the Royals and Nationals or has Turner finally turned things on as the schedule rolled into the month of August? Certainly a valid question that as of now, we don’t have an answer to.
Unlike Turner, there’s no questioning that Nick Castellanos has returned to form over the past 11 days in August. The Phillies’ right fielder is batting .302 with 13 hits, 6 home runs, 12 RBIs, and 9 runs scored in 10 games this month.
With Turner, Castellanos, and Harper heating up at the right time and the younger guys in Bohm and Stott playing great baseball, there’s really one player that sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of “getting his shit together.”
JT Realmuto needs to reclaim his title as The Best Catcher in Baseball.
On the season, Realmuto is batting .246 with 14 home runs, 46 RBI, and 48 runs scored. Let’s just hope last night was the perfect “get right” game for the BCIB. Realmuto went 2-2 with a 2-run home run and two walks last night in the Phillies’ 6-2 win over the Nationals.
The Minnesota Twins don’t impress me much and hopefully, the Phillies will take advantage of Dallas Keuchel on the mound tonight. That of course, relies on Cristopher Sanchez returning to form after his last start and the Phillies offense staying hot during the current home stand.
I like our chances.