Series Preview: Phillies at Reds


The Phillies take to the road this week for the beginning of an 8-game, 3-city trip starting with three games at Great American Ballpark against the host Cincinnati Reds. Last week, the Phils took 2 of 3 at home from the Reds, winning the first two in walkoff fashion.

More from That Balls Outta Here

The series will feature two of the worst teams in the National League to this point in the 2015 season. The Phillies (22-36) are at the bottom of the NL East. The Reds (24-31) are in 4th place in the NL Central. Both teams have been cold for the better part of the last 3-4 weeks.

Cincy got a shutout from their ace, Johnny Cueto, to down San Diego on Sunday. Prior to that victory the Reds had lost 4 of their previous 5 games. Since winning on May 14th to move a game above the .500 mark, the Reds have lost 14 of 20. The Phils also won on Sunday, but have lost 13 of their last 18.

Cincinnati has been led offensively this year by 3rd baseman Todd Frazier (.273/.349/.584, 16HR-35RBI-36R-6SB) and 1st baseman Joey Votto (.295/.400/.520, 10HR-31RBI-28R-5SB). 2nd baseman Brandon Phillips is hitting .309 with 25RBI and 8SB. Outfielder Jay Bruce (9HR) also adds pop, while Billy Hamilton (23SB) provides speed.

For the Phillies, Ryan Howard paces the club with 11HR-27RBI, while Chase Utley (24RBI), Jeff Francoeur (20RBI) and Ben Revere (28R-12SB) have had their moments. Rookie 3rd baseman Maikel Franco has provided a big-time spark to the lineup since his callup, with 6HR-16RBI-14R in just 91 plate appearances.


Monday: LHP Cole Hamels (5-4, 2.88 ERA) vs RHP Mike Leake (2-4, 4.40 ERA) – trade rumors continue to swirl around Hamels, with the Astros and Cubs as the two new hot teams in on the discussions. Every strong start by the veteran lefty makes him more and more valuable. The 27-year old Leake has taken losses in 4 straight decisions, giving up 20 earned runs and 27 hits in the last three of those.

Tuesday: RHP Aaron Harang (4-6, 2.45 ERA) vs Anthony De Sclafani (4-4, 3.60 ERA) – Harang has been so good this season that he also has become an enticing trade target. There are no specific known discussions, but expect his name to become more prevalent with each effective outing. 25-year old De Sclafani was the featured piece received by Cincy in a December trade with Miami for Mat Latos. He has been mostly solid in his first full-season big league rotation shot.

Wednesday: RHP Jerome Williams (3-5, 5.68 ERA) vs Jon Moscot (0-1, 7.20 ERA) – Williams has been awful, to put it mildly. If the Phils had any better options that were ready, he’d probably be gone. He’ll keep getting the ball for now, but those other options may surface in the 2nd half of the season at the latest. Moscot is a 23-year old selected in the 4th round of the 2012 draft. He made his big league debut with a 5 inning effort last week vs San Diego, so this will be just his 2nd start in the Majors.

NOTE: it always bears remembering when facing the Reds that you don’t want to be trailing entering the 9th. That’s when Cincy brings in their fireballing Cuban closer Aroldis Chapman. So far in 2015, Chapman is 3-3 with 10 Saves, a 2.13 ERA, and a 43-15 K:BB ratio across 25.1 innings. The Phils split with him last week, with a game-tying, 3-run homer by Franco on Wednesday followed by a lights-out 1-2-3 strikeout inning by the lefty known as the “Cuban Missile” on Thursday.


Ride the starting pitching – the Phillies avoided Cueto, who pitched yesterday, and for a rare series they have the edge in starting pitching in every game, at least on paper. They need to take advantage, getting strong outings from Hamels and Harang, and at least having Williams keep them in it for his customary 5 frames.

Shutdown innings – Phils pitching has been notoriously giving back leads throughout the season. It seems that every time the offense scores runs, the pitching gives those runs right back to the opposition. The pitchers, whether the starters or the bullpen, need to throw those shutdown innings, not allowing the Reds to answer.

Take advantage of the ballpark – Great American Ballpark is a bandbox, much the same way that Citizens Bank Park is one. The Phillies bats must produce across the series. Power from Howard and Franco, speed from Revere and Herrera, some pop out of Utley and a few others would be nice as well. The Phils need to score 4-5+ per game here to win, because the Reds probably will. Cincy has scored 5 or more in 10 of their 27 home games, and are 14-13 overall at home. The Phils are a miserable 7-20 on the road this year.


Monday, June 8@Cincinnati7:10 PMCSN1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)
Tuesday, June 9@Cincinnati7:10 PMCSN1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)
Wednesday, June 10@Cincinnati12:35 PMCSN1210 WPHT, WTTM 1680 (Sp.), 94 WIP

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE forecast for Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati

This Afternoon

A chance of showers and thunderstorms, then showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm after 5pm. Cloudy, with a temperature falling to around 70 by 5pm. West wind 13 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.


A chance of showers and thunderstorms before midnight, then a slight chance of showers between midnight and 2am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 62. South wind 3 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.


Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. West wind 7 to 10 mph.

Tuesday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 62. Northwest wind around 6 mph becoming calm in the evening.


Sunny, with a high near 86. Light south wind becoming southwest 5 to 9 mph in the morning.

Wednesday Night

A slight chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly cloudy, with a low around 66. Chance of precipitation is 20%.


REDSDateStatusDue BackInjuryNotes
Bailey, Homer (P)05/09Out for Season2016Recovering from May 2015 Tommy John surgeryTransferred to 60-day DL on April 29; underwent Tommy John surgery May 8.
Bourgeois, Jason (CF)05/2960-day DLPossibly JuneLeft shoulder fractureTook batting practice May 29.
Byrd, Marlon (LF)06/0415-day DLTBDRight wrist fractureIn soft brace, to be re-evaluated in 7-10 days as of June 4 update; placed on 15-day DL on June 3.
Iglesias, Raisel (P)06/0515-day DLTBDLeft oblique strainPlaced on 15-day DL on June 5, retroactive to May 31.
Marshall, Sean (P)05/2560-day DLPossibly 2015Recovering from May 2015 shoulder surgeryMay pitch again this season as of May 25 update.
Mesoraco, Devin (C)06/0715-day DLTBDLeft hip impingementScheduled to go on Triple-A rehab assignment June 8.

PHILLIESDateStatusDue BackInjuryNotes
Billingsley, Chad (P)06/0315-day DLPossibly JulyGrade 2 right lat strainPlaced on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 16; threw from 75 feet June 2.
Hollands, Mario (P)04/20Out for Season2016Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgeryUnderwent Tommy John surgery April 8.
Lee, Cliff (P)04/0560-day DLPossibly 2015Left common flexor tendon tearShut down from throwing, placed on 60-day DL on March 16.
Pettibone, Jonathan (P)05/0960-day DLTBDRecovering from June 2014 right elbow surgeryTransferred to 60-day DL on April 28.