Series Preview: Phillies at Padres

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After suffering their first series loss since the All-Star break, the Phillies (42-67) will travel to San Diego and Petco Park to take on the Padres (52-57). Formerly a very tough hitters park, Petco underwent renovations to bring the field to a much more reasonable size after the 2012 season. Now, the dimensions are fairly close to what you’d find at Citizens Bank Park.

More from That Balls Outta Here

The Padres have been going through several ups and downs. They just went on a road trip in which they went 5-5, experiencing both a 4-game win streak and 3-game losing streak. Their recent play has kept them 10.5 games behind the NL West-leading Dodgers, and 8 games out of the 2nd Wild Card slot.

Originally expected to be a contending force after a huge winter, the Padres instead flopped. They were then expected to be very active at the trade deadline. That deadline came and passed no with no significant pieces gone, club officials citing that they thought they could still contend.

Lately, San Diego appears to have shifted gears a little with rumors that two of the higher profile winter additions, pitcher James Shields and outfielder Matt Kemp, have been placed on waivers, this according to Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe.

For now, the Friars band is still together, and the Phils will have to face the likes of Shields, Kemp, Justin Upton, and others. The Padres’ offensive unit as it stands currently is ranked 19th in baseball and headed by Upton (.248/.324/.429, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 17 SB), Kemp (.254/.302/.396, 11 HR, 59 RBI, 9 SB), and Yangervis Solarte (.266/.317/.412, 7 HR, 40 RBI).

The Phillies series loss to LA was no fault of their offense which kicked in 17 runs in the three games.  This emerging offense, which now ranks 8th in MLB since the All-Star break, is led by NL Rookie of the Year candidate Maikel Franco (.286/.345/.496, 12 HR, 47 RBI), Rule 5 find Odubel Herrera (.288/.320/.426, 5 HR, 29 RBI, 9 SB), and rejuvenated slugger Ryan Howard (.238/.287/.453, 18 HR, 62 RBI).

Thanks to a favorable TV schedule this weekend, home fans will only have to stay up late to watch their favorite team one time, that coming right away in the Friday opener.

PITCHING MATCHUPS:

Aaron Nola (2-1, 3.38 ERA) v. James Shields (8-4, 3.74 ERA) – The premier pitching matchup of the series comes here in the opener on Friday night. The rookie Nola has a solid start to his young career, pitching 18 2/3 innings and only giving up 7 runs. His most recent outing (5 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 3 SO), is the shortest of his career. Nola will definitely be trying to go at least into the 6th inning tonight, and will have to hold his own against Padres’ ace James Shields. Shields is coming into this game having pitched very well in his last 7 games (2.57 ERA). Over 42 innings, he’s only allowed 12 earned runs, 33 hits, and 18 walks while striking out 36. Shields will look to continue his hot stretch when he toes the rubber this evening.

Adam Morgan (2-3, 4.46 ERA) v. Tyson Ross (8-8, 3.37 ERA) – Morgan has been a fairly nice surprise so far this season. However, he put up a pretty poor start in his last outing (5 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 1 SO). In two previous poor starts, he followed up with solid outings (6.1 IP/2 ER and 6 IP, 2 ER). Albeit a very small sample size, Morgan has a fairly decent track record of putting up capable bounce-back starts. His opponent, Ross, is in the midst of another stellar season for San Diego. Ross turned in another good start (6 IP, 2 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 5 SO) last Monday. Looking to keep his momentum moving, Ross will have to shut down a Phillies offense that has looked much more productive lately.

Jerome Williams (3-8, 6.09 ERA) v. Andrew Cashner (4-11, 4.08) – Williams decided to surprise fans on Tuesday when he put together a nice outing (5 IP, 1 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 6 SO) by his standards. With the lackluster season Williams has had this year, it may be a bit of a stretch to expect him to replicate that start, but he’ll certainly give it an effort. As if the Phils didn’t have it hard enough in this series, they are put up against a very talented pitcher in Cashner. He may not be experiencing one of his best seasons, but his stuff remains very formidable. Cashner looks to close out the serious in a strong way and build off a nice outing in Milwaukee (6 IP, 2 ER, 8 H, 4 BB, 5 SO).

SERIES KEYS:

Keep Hitting – As addressed earlier, the Phils took the series loss to the Dodgers this week, but that was not in part to a lack of runs. They even outscored LA on the series. Their hot stretch is largely due to the fact that their offense has stepped up tremendously. If they continue hitting like they are, the Phillies will certainly have a shot to take the series.

Improvement from Utley – Chase was abysmal before going on the DL (.179/.257/.275, 4 HR, 25 RBI). Now that he’s back, he’s going to get decent playing time, if only to showcase his healthy and skills for a possible August trade. He’s doing to have to step it up significantly to help this offense keep rolling. Just as with Hamels recently, Phillies fans could be watching the final weeks of a franchise icon in red pinstripes.

BROADCAST INFORMATION:

Friday: 10:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680

Saturday: 8:40 PM, TV: CSN, MLBN, Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680

Sunday: 4:10 PM, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680


NATIONAL WEATHER FORECAST for Petco Park in San Diego, California

Tonight

Increasing clouds, with a low around 67. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.

Saturday

Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 73. Light west wind increasing to 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.

Saturday Night

Increasing clouds, with a low around 68. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light after midnight.

Sunday

Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 73. Light northwest wind becoming west 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon.


INJURIES / DISABLED LISTS 

PADRESLast UpdatedStatusDue BackInjuryNotes
Johnson, Josh (P)07/2760-day DLPossibly AugustRecovering from April 2014 Tommy John surgeryWas scheduled to play catch from 90 feet July 27.
Luebke, Cory (P)07/1760-day DLTBDFlexor strain in left elbowUnderwent surgery, at least three weeks from throwing as of July 17 update.
Morrow, Brandon (P)08/0560-day DLTBDRight shoulder impingementCould undergo season-ending surgery as of Aug. 5 update.
Myers, Wil (RF)08/0515-day DLPossibly mid-AugustRecovery from left wrist surgeryPain-free, on strength program, yet to resume baseball activities as of Aug. 5 update.
Spangenberg, Cory (3B)08/0315-day DLTBDLeft knee contusionSent on Double-A rehab assignment Aug. 3.

 PHILLIESLast UpdatedStatusDue BackInjuryNotesBillingsley, Chad (P)07/2115-day DLTBDRight flexor strainPlaced on 15-day DL on July 21 retroactive to July 19.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)07/2460-day DLTBDRight shoulderWas scheduled to undergo surgery July 22.Utley, Chase (2B)08/0615-day DLAug. 7Right ankle inflammationSent on Double-A rehab assignment Aug. 4.

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