Unfortunately, the Phils were unable to keep their momentum going as they returned home to Citizens Bank Park. Now, the revenge-thirsty Dodgers are coming to town just a few days after the Phillies took three of four from them in their home ballpark. In this three-game series, the Phillies will have to swing their bats well, score runners when in scoring position, and avoid making communication and baserunning mistakes.
Last time they met
I don’t know if it is the Phillies’ hatred for Freddie Freeman, the good vibes in sunny California, or the Dodgers as a whole, but the Phillies were raking during their four-game series in Los Angeles. They scored 33 runs in just four games, and they were able to win three games in the set against the team that is widely considered the best in baseball. The Phillies’ pitching wasn’t great during this series, but the offense was able to make up for it by answering right back whenever the Dodgers scored. Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins were red-hot, and Harper ended up winning the Player of the Week award in the National League thanks to his performance in this series.
Aside from Gavin Lux and Cody Bellinger in the ninth inning of game four, Mookie Betts was the only Dodger to give the Phillies any trouble.
Since that series wrapped up, the Dodgers were able to rebound from the series loss, as they swept the Diamondbacks at home.
Could we see a pitcher’s duel?
Coming into the season, everyone anticipated that the Phillies would be successful because of their offense. While it has been good, their pitching has been excellent as well. All five pitchers in this series have ERAs below four, and all five Phillies starters have ERAs below four. The Phillies matched up well against Julio Urias, the game one starter for this series, last weekend, but it would be unlikely to see him have two poor starts against the same team in a row. The Dodgers have not yet announced who will be starting game two.
An update on Bryce Harper
According to the doctor that gave Harper his PRP shot Sunday afternoon, he now has to wait six weeks before he can resume throwing drills. This timeline does not have him playing in the outfield until the middle of August. Many people anticipated that he’d be back in the lineup as the DH by Wednesday, but he is absent from the lineup for game one as we open the series. There has been no official update as to why his recovery is taking longer than expected, so we can assume he is experiencing the usual side effects from an injection.
Kyle Schwarber will be the DH for Friday night’s contest, and Roman Quinn will assume a role in the outfield.
Did the bats make it through the long plane ride?
When the Phillies were in LA, they were averaging 8.25 runs per game against a Dodgers rotation that boasted an ERA below two before the series began. When the Phillies came home to see the Padres, they averaged just one run per game. What happened? A whole lot of nothing.
There is no doubt that the Dodgers want to give the Phillies a dose of what they received last weekend, so one run per game will not cut it. On Thursday, the Phillies were struggling to make hard contact; even on pitches in the middle of the zone, the Phillies’ offense seemed to be getting either over or under each pitch. A lot of this has to do with anticipating what pitch is coming and being able to react to the unexpected. This surely won’t get any easier with the Dodgers coming to town, but they will have to adjust if they want to find success to end the short homestand.
Game 1: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 4-1, 3.72 ERA) vs. Julio Urias (LHP, 2-3, 3 ERA)
Game 2: Aaron Nola (RHP, 1-4, 3.62 ERA) vs. TBD
Game 3: Zach Eflin (RHP, 1-3, 3.9 ERA) vs. Tony Gonsolin (RHP, 4-0, 1.64 ERA)
- Run Differential:
- Phillies: 16
- Dodgers: 83
- Runs Scored Per Game:
- Phillies: 4.61
- Dodgers: 5.49
- Runs Allowed Per Game:
- Phillies 4.18
- Dodgers: 3.24
Game times and broadcasts
- Friday, May 20, at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
- Saturday, May 21, at 6:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
- Sunday, May 22, at 1:35pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB Network, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.