Series Previews 2018

Phillies take on division champion Braves as season draws to a close



Freddie Freeman and the Braves are heading to the playoffs for the first time since 2013. (EricEnfermero/Wikimedia Commons)

The Philadelphia Phillies will play their last three games over the weekend against the Atlanta Braves, looking to snap an eight-game losing-streak and finish at .500 for the first time since 2012.

The Phillies meet with the Braves again after playing them only five days ago. Of course, that series weighed more heavily on Philadelphia than this one will. Taking the mound against playoff-bound Atlanta will be Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff and Ranger Suarez. Eickhoff will be making his first start of the season as he comes back from the disabled list. Suarez will be making his third start of the season. It’s clear the Phillies want to see who could possibly contribute in the rotation next season by having Eickhoff and Suarez take the mound.

The Phillies were outscored 39-7 in their four-game series against the Rockies, which followed up a four-game sweep in Altanta last weekend. The sudden collapse down the stretch leaves the Phillies scrambling for answers as they head into possibly the most crucial offseason in years, one that will likely determine just how close to contending for a championship the team really is.

Matchups:
Friday, Sept. 28, 7:00 p.m.
Mike Foltnewicz (12-10, 2.88 ERA, 3.46 FIP) vs. Jerad Eickhoff (0-0, 9.00 ERA, 0.16 FIP)
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Saturday, Sept. 29, 7:05 p.m.
Anibal Sanchez (7-6, 2.96 ERA, 3.68 vs. Aaron Nola (16-6, 2.45 ERA, 3.01 FIP)
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Sunday, Sept. 30, 3:05 p.m.
Kevin Gausman (10-10, 3.93 ERA, 4.29 FIP) vs. Ranger Suarez (1-1, 6.00 ERA, 6.41 FIP)
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 1210 WPHT

Series Notes:

  1. A number of players are done for the season. Zach Eflin was scheduled to pitch in this series, but that changed after it was reported he was feeling soreness in his left side. Aaron Altherr also appears to be finished after he had a collision, which resulted in a ligament tear in his toe, in addition to a possible concussion. It has been a rough season in general for the injury-prone Altherr, who managed only a .181/.295/.333 slash line in 105 games. Altherr was briefly demoted to Lehigh Valley over the summer as well.
  2. While Aaron Nola’s chances for both the National League Cy Young Award and MVP awards have gone down considerably, he still has a chance to add a 17th win to his stat sheet. It would be the most wins by a Phillies pitcher since 2012, when Cole Hamels won 17 games.
  3. The Phillies are currently 6-19 (.240 winning percentage) in September, which is their worst performance in the month of September in 76 years.
  4. While Jerad Eickhoff missed most of this year, he still figures to be a piece of the rotation going into 2019. The Phillies will hope Eickhoff can continue to regain his 2016 form, when he went 11-14 with a 3.65 ERA and a 3.6 bWAR.
  5. The Phillies season leaders in hitting statistics includes Odubel Herrera, who leads the team in average (.256); Rhys Hoskins, whose tops in home runs (33) and RBIs (94); and Cesar Hernandez, who leads in on-base percentage (.355) and hits (151).

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ken Bland

    September 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Typically, and that’s DIFFERENT Than always, but usually, when status questions come up about a coach/manager’s security, a GM provides a generic answer pointing toward widespread evaluations at season’s end.

    Interesting that Matt Klentak didn’t do that, speaking positively about Gabe Kapler in recent days.

    Amidst a truly remarkable reversal of W-L fortunes of late by often significant scores and beyond the very short term.

    And who is Matt Klentak, anyway? He’s NOT the highest ranking official in the organization, and his talking as if end of year evaluations had been done already by being seemingly conclusive is outright weird.

    The jury on Kapler is not back at this point. Any comment pro or con on the likelihood of his return should be taken as filler material. How you can bring a manager back after what’s gone down the last several weeks would largely match up with a great many of the policies and decisions in the Phillies long and losing history. It’s only been a few weeks, but the results are impactful, and therefore very telling. Longer term, it’s legitimately suggestive to think the “problem” extends above Kapler, but you can’t overlook the last few weeks which has Kapler in a rough spot.

    Those thinking that Kapler returns on a short leash for ’19 are probably right. But to think that way is still a leap. A process is in place that could still take Kapler down. Assuming that process’s direction is quite assumptive.

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