December 2, 2023

First-Place Twins? Series Preview: Twins at Phillies, August 11 – 13


Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Over the last sixty games, no team in baseball other than the Braves has won more games than the Philadelphia Phillies. On Wednesday, Michael Lorenzen put the icing on the cake with the first no-hitter by a Phillies’ pitcher since 2015. The bats have delivered, and the starting rotation continues to impress. Finally, the 2023 Phillies have arrived.

Now, they will look to keep rolling versus the 60-57 Minnesota Twins in a three-game, weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. With the Phillies’ big series win over the Washington Nationals this week, the Phillies have a 1.5-game lead over the Giants for the second Wild Card spot, and they have a 4.5-game lead over the Cubs and Reds, who are tied for fourth. With the Giants having one of the toughest schedules in baseball over the next two-plus weeks, the Phillies will look to continue distancing themselves from the other Wild Card contenders.

Here are two storylines ahead of the Phillies-Twins series:

The Bats MUST Stay Hot!

All year, we have been waiting for the Phillies’ “billion-dollar offense” to explode, and it looks like the time has finally come.

In the past seven days, the Phillies have 18 (yes, 18!!) home runs, a .941 OPS, and a .584 slugging percentage as a team. Nick Castellanos reached the 20 home run mark for the fifth time in his career on the same swing he hit his 200th MLB home run. Journeyman Weston Wilson hit a home run in his first major-league at-bat, J.T. Realmuto is batting .292 and has a .956 OPS in the last seven days, and Trea Turner has a hit in seven straight games.

Most importantly, though, these offensive bursts have not gone to waste. The Phils have won five of their last six games, and only one of their victories was won by three runs or less. This may seem insignificant, but the overuse of the Phillies’ high-leverage relievers was beginning to influence their play. Craig Kimbrel and Jeff Hoffman, in particular, have looked fatigued as of late, so in essence, the Phillies’ bats got hot at the most ideal time.

This weekend, however, will certainly be a challenge for the red-hot Phillies’ offense. They are set to face Pablo Lopez and Sonny Gray in this series, both of whom were selected to the AL All-Star team in July. Lopez, the former Miami Marlin, has faced the Phillies many times over the last few years. And Sonny Gray, the former Red, is having a career revival in the Twin Cities after struggling in his final season in Cincinnati.

Bryce Harper Out of Lineup in Game 1

Bryce Harper, who was removed in the top of the fifth inning of the fourth and final game against the Nationals, is not in the Phillies’ lineup for game one against the Twins. During the game on Thursday, it was announced that Harper was experiencing mid-back spasms, but the organization did not seem concerned about Harper’s injury. In fact, Harper told reporters on Thursday night that he should be okay to play on Friday, but that, seemingly, is not the case.

Harper, who spent the first month of the season on the IL recovering from Tommy John surgery, has a .293 average, a .808 OPS, and seven home runs in 311 at-bats so far this season. Since moving to first base in July, Harper’s bat has been one of the hottest on the team.

Today, Harper told the media that his back feels better than it did yesterday. Reports indicate that Harper is not available off the bench and will be reevaluated before tomorrow’s game.

In Harper’s absence, Trea Turner is batting third for the Phillies.

Here’s the rest of the Phillies’ lineup:

  1. Kyle Schwarber DH
  2. Alec Bohm 1B
  3. Trea Turner SS
  4. Nick Castellanos RF
  5. Bryson Stott 2B
  6. J.T. Realmuto C
  7. Weston Wilson LF
  8. Edmundo Sosa 3B
  9. Johan Rojas CF

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Friday, August 11, at 7:05pm ET on NBC10, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Saturday, August 12, at about 6:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP
  • Sunday, August 13, at 1:35pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680 (Spanish), and 94.1 WIP

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Cristopher Sánchez (LHP, 0-3, 3.44 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (LHP, 0-0, 1.80 ERA)
Game 2: TBD vs. Pablo López (RHP, 7-6, 3.81 ERA)
Game 3: TBD vs. Sonny Gray (RHP, 5-5, 3.18 ERA)

By the Numbers

  • Run Differential
  • Phillies: 32
  • Twins: 40
  • Runs Scored Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.62
  • Twins: 4.40
  • Runs Allowed Per Game
  • Phillies: 4.34
  • Twins: 4.06

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