June 7, 2023

Let’s Try This Again — Phillies vs Yankees Series Preview

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Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

Looking to bounce back from a rough opening series in Arlington, the Phillies will begin a 3-game series in The Bronx against the Yankees today. The Phils have started 0-3 for the first time since 2016 after getting swept by the Rangers to open the 2023 campaign. They were outscored 29-11 in the opening series and will need to pitch better if they want to right the ship this week.

This will be the first time since 2021 that the Phillies and Yankees face off. The American League runner-ups had a nerve-wracking offseason as, early on, it looked like they were going to lose last year’s AL MVP, Aaron Judge, before signing him to a 9-year/$360 million deal on December 20th. Judge has begun his MVP defense by hitting 2 big flies in his first 3 games.

This series will be the Phillies’ first look at the Yankees’ top prospect, Anthony Volpe, who had 21 HRs and 65 RBIs between AA and AAA last year. Volpe has already picked up his first 2 major league hits and first 3 major league stolen bases this season.

With the fan base antsy for the Phillies to get in the win column, here are some keys to this 3-game set in New York:

Starting Pitching Length

While starters typically do not pitch deep into games the first few weeks of the season, 13.1 innings through the first 3 games is inexcusable. That’s how many innings Phillies starters combine against the Rangers last series.

If the Phillies are going to want to pick up a series win against the Bronx Bombers, the starters will have to go deep into games. It all has to start with the new-Phillie, Taijuan Walker, tonight. Walkers has signed to a 4-year/$72 million deal this offseason with the hope that he would be an innings-eater who could take some of the workloads off of Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler this season. With the bullpen being used as much as it was in Texas, it would be nice if Walker could provide some length on Monday. It is worth noting that Aaron Judge is 4 for 11 with 4 HRs off of Walker in his career.

Another reason Walker will have to pitch deep into the opening game of this series is that Matt Strahm is slated to start game 2. Strahm, who has signed to a 2-year/$15 million deal this offseason, was brought over to be a middle-relief bullpen arm for the Phils, but with spring training injuries to Ranger Suarez and Andrew Painter, Strahm is now thrust into the starting rotation. He is expected to go no more than 3 innings on Tuesday, meaning the all-too-familiar bullpen game will make its first appearance for the Phillies earlier in the season than they had hoped.

After struggling in his first start of 2023, Aaron Nola will take the ball in the final game of this series on Wednesday. In just 3.2 innings, Nola gave up 5 earned runs, 4 hits, 2 walks, and struck out 4. Facing Gerrit Cole, he will have to be on his A game.

Hitting With RISP

The Phillies certainly had their chances last weekend in Arlington, but could only plate a total of 11 runs, and just 6 over the final 23 innings. After going 4 for 12 with RISP on Opening Day, the Phillies went just 3 for 17 over the next 2 games.

Hitting with RISP was a strength of this team last season, as they finished the year with a .270 average with RISP, good for 7th in MLB. The Phillies will have to return to that form this series because, as we saw, when you’re not driving in runs when you get the chance, bad things happen.

Against the Yankees, a team that has excellent pitching and a powerful offense, it is paramount that the Phillies drive in runs when given the chance.

Game Times and Broadcasts

Monday, April 3rd at 7:05 ET on NBCSP, MLB Network, 94.1 WIP, WTTM 1680
Tuesday, April 4th at 7:05 on NBCSP+, TBS, 94.1 WIP, WTTM 1680
Wednesday, April 5th at 1:05 on NBCSP, 94.1 WIP, WTTM 1680

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Taijuan Walker (RHP, 0-0, -.– ERA) vs. Nestor Cortes (LHP, 0-0, -.– ERA)
Game 2: Matt Strahm (LHP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Domingo German (RHP, 0-0, -.– ERA)
Game 3: Aaron Nola (RHP, 0-0, 12.27 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (RHP, 1-0, 0.00 ERA)

The Numbers

Run Differential:
Phillies: -18
Yankees: +9

Runs Scored Per Game:
Phillies: 3.67
Yankees: 5.33

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Phillies: 9.67
Yankees: 2.33

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