Following their third series sweep since the MLB All-Star Game, the Phillies (45-67) are in Arizona for a three-game series with the Diamondbacks (54-56). The series will take place in Chase Field, which has dimensions very similar to that of Citizens Bank Park.
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The Diamondbacks just completed a series victory of their own by winning yesterday’s game with the Cincinnati Reds thanks to a wild walkoff hit from Chris Owings. The victory has them at 5-5 over their last 10 games, and 7.5 behind the NL West-leading Dodgers. The 2nd Wildcard doesn’t appear any easier to attain, as they are 8 games out in that race as well.
Perhaps they’ll draw some nostalgic inspiration from Randy Johnson. The organization just retired the recent Hall of Fame inductee’s number 51 jersey. Their pitching staff could certainly use anything from the ‘Big Unit’, inspiration or otherwise, as they are ranked 21st in the league with a 4.07 ERA.
The DBacks offense, however, is propping up the team, and is ranked 9th overall with 482 runs scored. The Diamondbacks’ offensive package is led by NL All-Star 1st baseman Paul Goldschmidt (.337/.450/.577, 22 HR, 79 RBI, 19 SB), outfielder A.J. Pollock (.304/.360/.460, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 25 SB), and Cuban rookie Yasmany Tomas (.296/.329/.420, 6 HR, 39 RBI, 5 SB).
The Phils are in the midst of their best stretch of ball in a few years. Keying that resurgence has been a strong offense that now ranks at 5th since the All-Star break. That group is headed by rookie 3rd baseman Maikel Franco (.274/.336/.476, 12 HR, 47 RBI), speedy Rule 5 center fielder Odubel Herrera (.291/.321/.431, 6 HR, 32 RBI, 11 SB), and a born-again Ryan Howard (.235/.285/.453, 19 HR, 64 RBI).
Aaron Harang (5-12, 4.11 ERA) v. Rubby De La Rosa (9-5, 4.56 ERA) – Harang still appears to be working on getting back into the swings of things since returning from the DL over a week ago. He struggled a little in his last start (5 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 5 BB, 1 SO), and the number that jumps out there is the 5 walks. Harang can’t keep giving up that many free passes when he’s on the hill. His opponent, De La Rosa, is coming off a start in which he kept the Nationals fairly quiet (5 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 3 SO). De La Rosa has had an up and down season with strong starts off-set by a fair share of bad ones, which has resulted in a sub-par ERA. Who knows which De La Rosa will show up tonight?
David Buchanan (2-6, 7.23 ERA) v. Jeremy Hellickson (7-8, 5.06 ERA) – Buchanan was thought to have turned the corner with three nice starts in July. However, he completely threw up a clunker last Thursday against the Dodgers (4 IP, 7 ER, 10 H, 1 BB, 2 4 SO). Perhaps Buchanan has started to figure things out again and he just had a bad night, or maybe his improvement was just temporary luck. Whatever Buchanan’s case may be, hopefully Tuesday night will help paint a slightly clearer picture. Hellickson is in the midst of another tough season. In his last two outings, he went a combined 8 innings and allowed 10 earned runs. When he takes the ball on Tuesday, he’ll give all it takes to break against the grain and deliver a decent game for his squad.
Aaron Nola (2-1, 3.65 ERA) v. Robbie Ray (3-7, 3.13 ERA) – Going into career start number five, Nola has developed a little bit of a track record for keeping his team in each game. He’s never gone less than 5 innings, and hasn’t allowed more than 4 runs (which occurred in his longest game, 7.2 IP). So on Wednesday night, the Phils can come into the game knowing they should have a good shot to pick up a victory if their offense doesn’t fall flat. Ray has turned out to be an excellent winter addition for Arizona. His FIP (3.17) is right near his ERA, and his WHIP (1.17) and K/BB (3.38) look good too. Ray appears to be the Phillies’ toughest challenge in the series, so this game between he and Nola sets up to be the marquee matchup of the series.
Herrera remains a catalyst – With Ben Revere gone; Herrera has been a huge offensive contributor at or near the top of the order (.385/.421/.564, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 SB). Whether he is benefiting from guaranteed playing time or a little luck (.419 BABIP), Herrera has been playing out of his mind lately, and it’s been a lot of fun for fans to watch. The Phillies need him to keep pacing their offense to maintain its recent emergence into top-tier status.
Pitching Matchups – From the surface, the matchups in this series all look very close. In this past weekend sweep of the Padres, the Phils were able to keep the San Diego offense pretty limited. The team can’t count on their improved offense to step up every game, so they’ll need their pitching staff to deliver as well if they want to keep winning.
Monday- 9:40PM EDT, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)
Tuesday- 9:40PM EDT, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)
Wednesday- 3:40PM EDT, TV: CSN, Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP, WTTM 1680 (Sp.)
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE forecast for Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona
Chase Field has a retractable roof. With temperatures expected over 100 degrees this week, there is a good chance that the roof will be closed during the three games vs the Phillies, making weather a virtual non-factor.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 103. Light south wind.
Isolated showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 85. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Patchy blowing dust after 3pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 106. East wind 5 to 9 mph becoming south in the afternoon.
A 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 11pm. Patchy blowing dust before 7pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 85. Southeast wind 5 to 8 mph becoming light and variable.
A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 107. East wind around 7 mph becoming south in the afternoon.
INJURIES / DISABLED LISTS
|Diamondbacks||Last Updated||Status||Due Back||Injury||Notes|
|Bradley, Archie (P)||08/08||15-day DL||TBD||Right shoulder tendinitis||Resumed throwing off mound, nearing simulated game as of Aug. 7 update.|
|Delgado, Randall (P)||08/08||15-day DL||Possibly mid-August||Right ankle sprain||Placed on 15-day DL on July 29 retroactive to July 28.|
|Gosewisch, Tuffy (C)||06/06||Out for Season||2016||Recovering from June 2015 right knee surgery||Underwent surgery to repair torn ACL in right knee June 5.|
|Gosselin, Philip (2B)||08/08||60-day DL||Possibly August||Recovering from May 2015 thumb surgery||Could soon face live pitching as of Aug. 7 update; transferred to 60-day DL on July 23.|
|Laird, Gerald (C)||08/02||60-day DL||Possibly mid-to-late August||Recovering from May 2015 back surgery||Sent on Rookie league rehab assignment Aug. 2.|
|PHILLIES||Last Updated||Status||Due Back||Injury||Notes|
|Billingsley, Chad (P)||08/08||15-day DL||TBD||Right flexor strain||Scheduled to have elbow re-examined week of Aug. 10.|
|Hollands, Mario (P)||04/20||Out for Season||2016||Recovering from April 2015 Tommy John surgery||Underwent Tommy John surgery April 8.|
|Lee, Cliff (P)||04/05||60-day DL||Possibly 2015||Left common flexor tendon tear||Shut down from throwing, placed on 60-day DL on March 16.|
|Pettibone, Jonathan (P)||08/08||Out for Season||2016||Recovering from July 2015 shoulder surgery||Underwent season-ending surgery July 22.|