January 29, 2023

Series Preview: Padres at Phillies, May 17 – 19

Mark Terrill/AP Images

It finally happened—The Phightin Phils are red-hot. They took two of three from the Dodgers, and they have won five of their last seven ballgames, which have all been on the road. As the Phillies return home following a disappointing loss on Sunday and a travel day on Monday, everyone is asking the same question: Can the Phillies continue to have momentum despite the disheartening walk-off in game four? Let’s hope so!

The San Diego Padres are off to a very hot start. They are 22-13 and just behind the Dodgers in the NL West. The Padres were not overly active in the offseason, but they did not have much of a reason to be. They have Yu Darvish and Blake Snell atop their rotation, and their offense is led by Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis, Junior. Tatis is hurt at the moment, but Manny Machado has made up for it by dominating the opposition so far this season. Their two most significant acquisitions both came from New York. They traded Justin Lange to the Yankees in exchange for Luke Voit, and they signed Robinson Cano after being released by the Mets.

Taking advantage

We are so lucky to have a league full of young talent, but it can also be a burden to a lot of teams. This time around, the Phillies will not have to face budding superstar Fernando Tatis Jr., as he sustained an injury in the offseason. He was placed on the 60-day injured list on April 7 due to a fracture in his left wrist.

Tatis entered the league in 2019, and he hit .317 in his rookie campaign. He continued to find success in the shortened 2020 season and 2021 season. He now has a career OPS of .965, and he is 15 home runs away from 100. His defense has always been an issue, but some argue that his offensive capabilities make up for it.

Can the bats stay hot?

While the Phillies have been underwhelming in many aspects this season, you cannot say that they haven’t been swinging their bats well over the past two series. The Phillies have scored 50 runs over their last seven games. I cannot believe it either. Bryce Harper took home the NL Player of the Week, and Jean Segura and Rhys Hoskins have continued to be unstoppable at the dish.

Hoskins has raised his batting average nearly 50 points, and he has a slash line of .375/.394/.750 over his last seven games. Hoskins has been more aggressive at the dish, and his offensive prowess has led the team to their recent success.

After starting slow, Bryce Harper has found his MVP swing. The Player of the Week has hit .519 in his last seven games, and he now has a season OPS of .995. He was able to find his power, as he has blasted six home runs in his last 15 games. While all of this is impressive, his ability to come through with runners in scoring position—something that the Phillies desperately need—has been remarkable.

Quietly, Segura has been one of the best all-around players on the Phils. Similarly to Harper, Segura has hit .440 over his last seven games, and he has four home runs in that same span. Segura now has an average of .309 on the season. Also, Segura has played a solid second base for the Phillies in 2022. This is something that you cannot overlook, considering how poorly the rest of the Phillies’ defense is.

The Phillies will face lefty Blake Snell on Wednesday, which should be a good matchup for these three Phillies. This will also be Snell’s season debut.

So, why are the Phillies struggling to be victorious? Inconsistency. When the offense does well, the defense or pitching struggles, and vice versa. The Phillies must find a balance between those two things if they want to be in the win column consistently.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Zach Eflin (RHP, 1-2, 4.5 ERA) vs. Mike Clevinger (RHP, 0-0, 5 ERA)

Game 2: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 1-3, 4.26 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (LHP, Season Debut)

Game 3: Kyle Gibson (RHP, 3-1, 4.1 ERA) vs. Yu Darvish (RHP, 3-1, 4.62 ERA)

The numbers

  • Run Differential:
  • Phillies: 18
  • Padres: 16
  • Runs Scored Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.91
  • Padres: 4.57
  • Runs Allowed Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.11
  • Padres: 4.4

Game times and broadcasts

  • Tuesday, May 17, at 6:45pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Wednesday, May 18, at 6:45pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Thursday, May 19, at 1:05pm ET on NBC 10, MLB Network, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP

Game coverage for this series will be present on Philly Sports’ Reports Twitter page.

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