October 2, 2023

Series Preview: Phillies at Padres, August 20 – August 22


Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Three games against a horrible Arizona Diamondbacks team should have resulted in at least a couple of wins, but instead, the Phillies came away with zero.

I’ve seen some pretty bad baseball over the past decade, and that was some of the worst.

They’ll head to San Diego to face the Padres, who are another team that’s had its own problems lately.

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

Last time they met, what’s happened since

The Padres came to Philadelphia in early July and the Phillies took the first two games before Vince Velasquez and Hector Neris allowed 11 runs on Independence Day.

The Padres looked like a playoff lock in the first half of the season, but their play since the All-Star Break has made that position much more slight. They’re 14-16 in the second half, and while they still currently hold the NL’s second Wild Card spot, they’re only one game up on the Cincinnati Reds.

The Phillies aren’t the only team that’s had trouble beating seemingly inferior competition lately. The Padres also struggled against the D-backs, losing three out of four last week. They followed that up by getting swept in a three-game series by the Colorado Rockies.

Tatis is back

The Padres are expected to get a boost from the return of injured star Fernando Tatis Jr. But despite hitting three home runs in the four games since he’s been back, the team is just 1-3. He went 5-12 against Phillies pitching in July, and if the Phillies want to win this series, they’ll need to slow him down.

Slumping Machado

Manny Machado — known to Phillies fans as the big free agent the team didn’t sign before the 2019 season — has been struggling as of late to match those of his team. He’s got an OPS of just .529 over the past two weeks.

It would be great if that could continue for another three games.

Silent bats

The Phillies’ biggest weakness used to be the pitching. But in recent weeks, with a few exceptions, the starting rotation has generally kept the team in games, and the bullpen hasn’t been bad.

That is a winning formula if you’ve got an offense that can score runs, which is something the Phillies haven’t been able to do lately.

Part of the problem is that bench players such as Brad Miller and Ronald Torreyes have gotten far too much playing time lately. Those guys are good reserves, but if you play them enough, you’ll quickly see why they aren’t starters.

Rhys Hoskins should be returning from the injured list soon, which should help, but considering his consistency for slumps, he can’t be counted on as a savior.

There’s no excuse for the poor hitting we’ve seen from Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, and Andrew McCutchen lately.

(To be fair, Cutch rushed back from injury and hasn’t re-gained his stride.)

The good news is that most of these players have track records that indicate that their cold streaks won’t last too long.

Let’s just hope they can heat up before the team falls too far in the standings.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Matt Moore (LHP | 2-3, 6.07 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (LHP | 6-4, 4.80 ERA)
Game 2: Aaron Nola (RHP | 7-7, 4.48 ERA) vs. Joe Musgrove (RHP | 8-8, 3.11 ERA)
Game 3: Kyle Gibson (RHP | 8-5, 3.18 ERA) vs. TBD

The numbers

Run Differential:
Phillies: -25
Padres: 84

Runs Scored Per Game:
Phillies: 4.45
Padres: 4.72

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Phillies: 4.66
Padres: 4.04

Game times and broadcasts

  • Friday, August 20 at 10:10pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Saturday, August 21 at 8:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Sunday, August 22 at 3:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP

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