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2017 Series Preview

Series preview: Arizona Diamondbacks (41-26) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (22-43), June 16-18

arizona-diamondbacks-logo.jpgWe thought the Boston Red Sox were good? Well, the Arizona Diamondbacks are even better, and that’s who the Phils are hosting on this Father’s Day weekend. The Phils snapped its eight game losing streak last night behind Nick Pivetta‘s “I belong here” type of game. The rookie right-hander out-dueled the five-time all star Chris Sale by tossing seven shutout innings while striking out nine in a 1-0 win. The lone Phillies run came on a Ty Kelly double that plated Andrew Knapp in the bottom of the eighth. The D-Backs won’t make it easier, however, as they are tied for second in the NL West with a 41-26 record.

What to expect

Paul Goldschmidt is up to his old tricks again, hitting .323 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI, which is best for third in baseball. Just look right across the diamond to find the league leader in RBI. Emerging third baseman Jake Lamb, comes into the series with 16 home runs and 57 RBI. Arizona is ninth in the league in batting average, hitting .261, but do most of their damage with runners in scoring position, hitting at a .289 clip. The D-Backs are an incredible 26-9 in home games, but sport a 15-17 record on the road. Their pitching staff ranks second in baseball with a 3.69 team-ERA.

The Phils have been, to their credit, more competitive this week. They lost to both St. Louis and Boston a combined six times, but four of those games came by a run. You know it’s bad when losing by a run is a moral victory in a sense.

Odubel Herrera is mired in an 0-for-14 skid after hitting .442 with 11 doubles in his first 10 games in June. Howie Kendrick, who has been the most consistent hitter on the team, has a .330 average on the season and an impressive .411 BAbip. Maikel Franco is hitting .137 in his last 14 games at Citizens Bank Park.

Probable starters

Friday, 7:05p.m., Patrick Corbin (5-6, 5.38 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (3-4, 4.40 ERA)

Which Aaron Nola will we see tonight? That’s the question we’ve been asking all year. Nola, coming off the disabled list, looked great in Pittsburgh but followed it up with two clunkers against Cincinnati and Miami. Then flashes brilliance in Atlanta, and then a so-so outing his last start in St. Louis. Amazingly, this is Nola’s just second start at home this year. A former all star in 2013, Patrick Corbin has been bad the last two years. With an ERA over five, Corbin has surrendered 93 hits in 72 innings, and is easily the weak-link of the D-Backs staff.

Saturday, 4:05p.m., Zack Godley (2-1, 2.44 ERA) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (0-7, 5.09 ERA)

Zack Godley had a 6.39 ERA in 27 games appeared last year. This season, the right-hander carries a 2.44 ERA in seven starts. He’s yet to allow any more than three earned runs in a start, which could doom the Phils. Jerad Eickhoff is making baby steps, as he’s allowed three earned runs in each of his last two starts. The Phillies’ starter has a 1.72 WHIP at home compared to a somewhat respectable 1.39 on the road.

Sunday, 1:35p.m., Robbie Ray (7-3, 2.62 ERA) vs. Ben Lively (1-1, 3.00 ERA)

Take a look at Robbie Ray’s last five starts: 37 IP, 14 H, 9 BB, 1 ER, 48 SO. That adds up to 0.24 ERA.┬áRay has a 4.50 ERA against the Phils in two career starts. With the left-hander in this type of groove, runs will be at a premium for the Phils. Ben Lively has been a pleasant surprise since his call-up. He’s recorded a quality start in his first three big league outings, all going seven innings. Lively has a knack for getting himself into jams, but having the poise to minimize the damage.


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