Just a few weeks ago, Phillies and Orioles fans teamed in hopes of getting both Bryce Harper and Adley Rutschman enough votes to start the All-Star game for their respective leagues. Now, however, the two teams are facing off in what has become a noteworthy three-game series for both squads.
The 61-38 Orioles just snatched a series win from the 61-win Tampa Bay Rays and now sit atop the AL East with a slim two-game lead. The Phillies have lost four of their last five games and are .5 games out of the third Wild Card spot. However, with the Diamondbacks, Giants, and Marlins struggling as of late, the Phillies have an opportunity to gain significant ground in the Wild Card race.
In the offseason, the Orioles did not make many flashy signings or trades, but they did enough to build a playoff-worthy roster. They signed former Phillies pitcher Kyle Gibson to a one-year contract in the offseason, and they signed Mychal Givens to a one-year contract with an option for 2024.
Of course, it is the young stars of the Orioles who have earned them the best record in the American League in 2023. Gunnar Henderson has 16 home runs and a .818 OPS in 304 at-bats, and All-Star catcher Adley Rutschman has a .269/.372/.425 slash line in 74 games.
Here are two storylines ahead of the Phillies-Orioles series:
An Opportunity vs. Struggling Righties
The trade talks ahead of the deadline have made it abundantly clear that the Phillies are in need of some right-handed hitters. But this week, their lefty-heavy lineup may actually be an advantage. The Orioles are sending Dean Kremer and Kyle Gibson to the mound in games one and two, respectively, both of whom have struggled immensely as of late.
Kremer, 27, has a 4.80 ERA in 108.2 innings this season. However, the righty posted a 5.91 ERA in the month of June, and despite starting off July strong, his ERA ballooned even more after his last start against the Dodgers, where he went just 4.2 innings and allowed five runs.
Veteran Kyle Gibson has the game-two start for the Orioles, and he has been even worse as of late. In his last seven starts, Gibson has a 6.63 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, and 15 walks. He has picked up just one win over that span. Nonetheless, he has seemed to have had the numbers of the Phillies’ hitters in the past. Against Gibson, Nick Castellanos has a .233 average in 43 at-bats, and Jake Cave, Bryce Harper, Brandon Marsh, Edmundo Sosa, and Kyle Schwarber are a combined 0-10.
The Return of Sir Anthony
For a while, the Phillies’ bullpen was virtually unstoppable despite the injuries of Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Alvarado. But in the last few days, the injuries seem to be finally catching up to them. Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the season against the Guardians on Sunday, Jeff Hoffman has allowed runs in both of his last two appearances, and Yunior Marte has a 4.76 ERA in his last seven games. And then, of course, there is Dylan Covey.
Dominguez was put on the IL on June 17, and he is expected to be reinstated before game two of this series against the Orioles. Dominguez had an ERA of 4.33 before his injury, but he had a minuscule .93 ERA in the month of May. It goes without saying that Dominguez, who struck out the side in his final rehab appearance, will be a major boost to the Phillies’ seemingly tired bullpen.
Game Times and Broadcasts
- Monday, July 24, at 6:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
- Tuesday, July 25, at 6:40pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
- Wednesday, July 26, at 6:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
Game 1: Cristopher Sánchez (LHP, 0-3, 3.06 ERA) vs. Dean Kremer (RHP, 10-4, 4.80 ERA)
Game 2: Taijuan Walker (RHP, 11-4, 4.11 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (RHP, 9-6, 4.76 ERA)
Game 3: Ranger Suárez (LHP, 2-5, 4.07 ERA) vs. Kyle Bradish (RHP, 6-5, 3.05 ERA)
By the Numbers
- Run Differential
- Phillies: 8
- Orioles: 48
- Runs Scored Per Game
- Phillies: 4.51
- Orioles: 4.93
- Runs Allowed Per Game
- Phillies: 4.42
- Orioles: 4.44
Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.