2017 Series Preview

Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers (52-46) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (32-61), July 21-23

The Phillies will welcome the NL Central leading Milwaukee Brewers to town for a three game set at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils opened the second half of the season just a week ago in Milwaukee, where the club lost two of three games.

What to expect

The Phils are fresh off a 3-3 road trip and a series win against the Marlins during the week, their first (three game series win) since the beginning of June. The offense came through in a big way, average 5.5 runs per game during the road trip. Nick Williams is tied for the league lead in RBI with 11 since the all-star break. He hit a huge go-ahead grand slam last Sunday in Milwaukee. Maikel Franco has been scorching since the break, hitting .440 with a homer, seven RBI, three walks, and just one strikeout. Odubel Herrera has also come out hot, hitting .333 with four doubles, four walks, and five RBI in the six games since the break. It’s no coincidence the Phils are winning games with the combo of Herrera and Franco hitting simultaneously with other contributions coming from Williams.

Milwaukee is limping into Philadelphia losers of five straight that includes a four game sweep in Pittsburgh during the week. The Brewers averaged just over two runs a game. With the Phils finding some consistency in the lineup and the Brew Crew struggling at the plate, this could make for another series win for the home team.

Probable starters

Friday, 7:05 p.m., Matt Garza (4-4, 3.84 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (6-6, 3.54 ERA)

Garza’s last start came against the Phillies on July 16, where he tossed five innings of one-run ball. The twelve-year veteran doesn’t have the stuff he once had, only striking out 52 batters in 77.1 innings of work. Nola has been dominant his last five starts, pitching to a 1.78 ERA and allowing just 24 hits in 35.1 innings. Opponents are hitting just .186 off the right-hander. With Nola pitching like a top-of-the-line starter, any game is winnable with him on the bump.

Saturday, 7:05 p.m., Brent Suter (1-1, 3.09 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (6-5, 4.44 ERA)

With injuries to starters Wily Peralta and Chase Anderson, Suter is making just his fifth start of the season. The second-year vet was tagged for seven hits in 4.2 innings in his last start in Pittsburgh. It’ll be tough to hit the three-run homer off Suter, as he’s allowed just one home run all year. At any point now, could be Hellickson’s last start as a Phillie. With the club opting to keep the right-hander last year, it’s almost certain he’ll be dealt this time around to clear up spots for some of the young arms in triple-A. Hellickson has turned it around since his tough May and early June, pitching to a 3.26 ERA in his last five starts. The right-hander won’t walk a ton of batters, but has been prone to the long ball, allowing 21 in 19 starts.

Sunday, 1:35 p.m., Junior Guerra (1-3, 4.77 ERA) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (1-7, 4.83 ERA)

Guerra has a 7.43 ERA in his last five starts, allowing 28 hits (nine home runs) in 23 innings. Opponents have a OPS of 1.083 off the right-hander during that span. Eickhoff had a strong showing against the Padres coming off the disabled list, tossing five scoreless innings on just one walk. His last outing against the Marlins wasn’t as successful, when he allowed five runs and another four walks in six innings. His strikeout numbers are up with 16 in his last two starts, but if you’re giving guys free passes, disaster is inevitable.

 

 

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