September 21, 2023

Let’s “Cruz” through the Buccos—Series Preview: Phillies at Pirates, July 28 – 31


AP Photo/Matt Slocum

For the first time in 2022, the Phillies will face their cross-state rivals in Pittsburgh. The rivalry faded when the Pirates changed divisions, but historically, the Phillies and Pirates have one of the most well-known rivalries in baseball.

And this year, the Phillies will see some new talent in Steel City.

If you’re like John Kruk, you won’t know his name, but you will know that he has raw power and an incredible arm at shortstop. He was one of the more highly-anticipated prospects in baseball, and he has put on a show during his time in the big leagues so far.

And if you will be at any of the four games this series, you surely won’t miss him. The six-foot-seven shortstop isn’t the biggest player on the field, but his height in the middle infield can’t possibly go unnoticed.

Ke’Bryan Hayes, the Pirates’ start third baseman will not go unnoticed either. The organization’s former number one prospect only has a .676 OPS, but he still serves as a threat if a Phillies starter makes a crucial mistake.

The Pirates, who have won just two of their last ten, have lost three straight games as they continue to see players shipped off before the trade deadline. Daniel Vogelbach and Michael Perez have already been dealt, and it would be no surprise if more Pirates are traded away at some point during the series.

Final impression

As the trade deadline inches closer, the Phillies are tasked with proving that they are a contending team in need of additions. And as Dave Dombrowski continues to make phone calls, the Phillies have to continue winning. Because the more games that they win, the more phone calls the Phillies’ front office makes. 

The absences of Jean Segura and Bryce Harper have made it obvious that the Phillies lack offensive depth, and Bailey Falter is not doing a good enough job in lieu of Zach Eflin. While adding two starters and defensively-reliable outfielder could turn the Phils’ season around, struggling in this series could wash the hope of making big acquisitions all away.

Keep Bohm hot on the road

If I had to rate Alec Bohm’s performance since the all-star break on a traditional one-to-ten scale, he is definitely an 11. He is hitting over .500 since returning to Citizens Bank Park and made multiple nifty plays at third base in game three of the Braves series. He puts on a clinic for situational hitting and is constantly on base.

Bohm was moved up to the three-hole for game on of the four-game series.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Zack Wheeler (RHP, 8-5, 2.78 ERA) vs. Zach Thompson (RHP, 3-7, 4.64 ERA)

Game 2: Bailey Falter (LHP, 0-3, 5.18 ERA) vs. José Quintana (LHP, 3-5, 3.70 ERA)

Game 3: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 7-5, 3.84 ERA) vs. Mitch Keller (RHP, 3-7, 4.55 ERA)

Game 4: Aaron Nola (RHP, 6-8, 3.32 ERA) vs. JT Brubaker (RHP, 2-8, 3.96 ERA)

The numbers

  • Run Differential:
  • Phillies: 48
  • Pirates: -144
  • Runs Scored Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.63
  • Pirates: 3.58
  • Runs Allowed Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.14
  • Pirates: 5.05

Game times and broadcasts

  • Thursday, July 28, at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Friday, July 29, at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Saturday, July 30, at 7:15pm ET on FOX, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Sunday, July 31, at 1:35 on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP

Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.

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