Phillies tab Jake Arrieta to oppose Gerrit Cole, Yankees

Jake Arrieta will make his season debut on Monday opposite Gerrit Cole and the Yankees

After not playing since Sunday, July 26, Philadelphia Phillies baseball is set to return on Monday for a four-game home-and-home series against the New York Yankees.

The series, which will begin at Yankee Stadium, not only will mark the return of Didi Gregorius, Joe Girardi, and Rob Thomson to the venue, but it also will showcase some of the best starting pitchers in the American and National League East divisions.

In Monday’s series opener, among the best will get the starting nod. On Sunday, Girardi tabbed Jake Arrieta as the series opener starter against Yankees right-handed ace Gerrit Cole. When Arrieta takes the mound, it will have been 12 days since his previous outing — a summer camp intrasquad game.

The Phillies appear to be “out of the danger zone” after the Miami Marlins COVID-19 outbreak at Citizens Bank Park, which resulted in Phillies games being postponed over the past week.

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Arrieta, 34, will make  his season debut, marking his third season in red pinstripes. The right-hander was supposed to make his first start of 2020 last week against the Yankees in the series opener. It appears he will still get the chance to do so.

The veteran told reporters on Sunday that it was “frustrating” the Phillies had two false-positive COVID tests that led to them being shutdown the past week.

Cole, 29, will be making his third start already with his new team, after going 2-0 with a 3.09 ERA and one complete game already in Yankees pinstripes, so far in 2020. He held the Washington Nationals to just one run in five innings on Opening Day and was credited with a complete game due to the rain-shortened contest. Six days later, Cole allowed three runs to the Baltimore Orioles in 6 2/3 innings, but earned the win thanks to his team outscoring the opposition, 9 to 3.

Monday’s start will mark Arrieta’s 10th career appearance and ninth start against the Yankees. Cole, meanwhile, will make his eighth career start against the Phillies — and his first since 2017 with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Yankees batters have had some success against Arrieta. DJ LeMahieu, for example, has gone 4-for-14 with a double and three RBI. Slugging designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton has gone 3-for-14 with a solo home run. Brett Gardner has also gone 3-for-14, but has struck out five times as opposed to Stanton’s three opposite Arrieta.

Cole, meanwhile, has previously faced several current Phillies hitters, mostly during his time with the Pirates. Jay Bruce is 7-for-25 lifetime against the right-hander with a pair of doubles, one home run, and four RBI. Roman Quinn is 1-for-1 with a double, two RBI, and one walk. J.T. Realmuto, most notably, is 10-for 14 with a solo home run. Also, infielders Jean Segura and Neil Walker are 10-for-35 and 4-for-11, respectively.

Bryce Harper has not had much success, however, going just 3-for-14 (all singles) with three strikeouts (.214/.214/.214).

In 67 combined starts with the Houston Astros and Yankees in 2018-20, Cole has gone 37-10 with a 2.69 ERA and 614 strikeouts. In 2020 alone, he has 12 strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings.

There have been concerns about the Phillies being “rusty” given their lengthy layoff; they will have a daunting test right off the bat in opposing Cole on Monday.