After a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which we may or may not have learned something about just how good they are, the Phillies will welcome the Cincinnati Reds to Citizens Bank Park.

With the Reds’ powerful offense, we may get an idea as to just how well the Phillies’ pitching staff will be able to hold up down the stretch.

Here’s a few storylines for this weekend’s matchup.

Last time they met, what’s happened since

When the Phillies visited Cincinnati in May, the teams traded blowout wins before the third game was postponed. That game was eventually made up, and the Phillies were doing well until Neftali Feliz did his thing.

The Reds were recently hot where they went 10-2, only to follow it with a three-game losing streak. They’ll need a few more hot streaks if they want to make the postseason, because although they’re in second place in the NL Central, they’re eight games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers.

Reds can hit

The Reds have been carried by their offense, which ranks second in the NL in runs scored. They’ve been led by Nick Castellanos, Jesse Winker, and longtime Phillie killer Joey Votto.

In two of the games, the Phillies will have Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola starting, and say what you will about Nola’s up-and-down season, he’s capable of pitching the team to victory on any given night. The third game will be started by Matt Moore, and the Phillies will likely have to rely on the offense if they want to win that one.

Of course, there’s also the bullpen. Thanks to Ian Kennedy, Archie Bradley, and Hector Neris, the late innings haven’t been so much of a problem. And with Jose Alvarado and Connor Brogdon, you’ve got a couple of mid-inning options who have had stretches of effectiveness.

The bullpen also consists of guys like Enyel de los Santos, Mauricio Llovera, and David Paulino (don’t ask questions). These guys shouldn’t be used if the game is anywhere within five runs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Joe Girardi agrees. de los Santos has inherited the “high-leverage middle inning reliever even though he keeps proving he can’t do it” job from David Hale.

Reds pitching on the other hand

The Phillies spent most of the series against the Dodgers not hitting the ball real well. That sometimes happens when you face a top pitching staff without Rhys Hoskins or J.T. Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen is rusty. In this series, the Phillies will be facing three starters who are ok (Tyler Mahle, Luis Castillo, and Sonny Gray, more on them later) and a sub-par bullpen (Heath Hembree is one of their key relievers), so with or without those guys, the Phillies need to score runs.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Zack Wheeler (RHP | 10-6, 2.42 ERA) vs. Tyler Mahle (RHP | 9-3, 3.78 ERA)
Game 2: Matt Moore (LHP | 1-3, 6.79 ERA) vs. Luis Castillo (RHP | 6-11, 4.53 ERA)
Game 3: Aaron Nola (RHP | 7-6, 4.35 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (RHP | 4-6, 4.40 ERA)

The numbers

Run Differential:
Phillies: -15
Reds: 22

Runs Scored Per Game:
Phillies: 4.54
Reds: 5.05

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Phillies: 4.67
Reds: 4.86

Game times and broadcasts

  • Friday, August 13 at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Saturday, August 14 at 4:05pm ET on FS1, NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Sunday, August 15 at 1:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP