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Phillies need Saturday night win for shot at Royals series victory



The Phillies will be trying to keep Royals mascot “Slugger” from having too much to celebrate on Saturday night at Kauffman Stadium. (Mike Kalasnik)

The Philadelphia Phillies (21-16) continue their series at Kauffman Stadium with the host Kansas City Royals (14-25) on Saturday night. The Phillies need to come away with a victory in order to have a chance to win this series against the team with the worst record in the American League.

The Royals offense has actually been very comparable to the Phillies to this point, at least statistically. They are averaging 4.74 runs per game to the Phillies average of 5.11 runs. Over two more games played, the Royals have slugged two more homers than the Phillies. Kansas City’s .752 collective OPS is just ahead of the .751 mark of the Phillies.

On the mound is where you find the primary difference between the first-place Phillies and last-place Royals. With a staff ERA at the 3.96 mark the Phillies pitchers rank 11th in all of baseball. The Royals staff has a collective 4.99 ERA, just 26th among the 30 MLB clubs.

That pitching difference didn’t show up in Friday night’s series opener. Royals starter Homer Bailey shut the Phillies down on four hits and one earned run over five solid innings. The Kansas City bullpen then followed with four no-hit frames, striking out eight Phillies batters.

 

SATURDAY STARTING LINEUPS

PHILLIES LINEUP

  1. Andrew McCutchen LF
  2. Jean Segura SS
  3. Bryce Harper RF
  4. Rhys Hoskins 1B
  5. J.T. Realmuto DH
  6. Odubel Herrera CF
  7. Cesar Hernandez 2B
  8. Maikel Franco 3B
  9. Andrew Knapp C

ROYALS LINEUP

  1. Whit Merrifield 2B
  2. Adalberto Mondesi SS
  3. Alex Gordon LF
  4. Hunter Dozier 3B
  5. Jorge Soler RF
  6. Ryan O’Hearn 1B
  7. Kelvin Gutierrez DH
  8. Chris Owings CF
  9. Martin Maldonado C

 

SHIBE VINTAGE SPORTS STARTING PITCHING MATCHUP

  • Zach Eflin: 4-3, 3.00 ERA, 1.143 WHIP, 41 hits allowed over 42 IP across seven starts with a 31/7 K:BB
  • Eflin has given the Phillies a Quality Start in four of his last six outings, and was brilliant in winning his most recent two over the Marlins and Nationals, allowing just 11 hits over 16 innings.
  • Brad Keller: 2-3, 3.99 ERA, 1.394 WHIP, 38 hits allowed over 47.1 IP across eight starts with a 36/28 K:BB
  • Keller began the season with four consecutive Quality Starts but has none over his last four outings. Walks have been his bugagoo, and he handed out five free passes in his most recent outing this past Sunday at Detroit.
  • Keller has pitched well at Kauffman Stadium this year, with his .182 BAA at home as the eighth-lowest mark in the AL.
  • Tonight’s starting assignments will mark the first career appearance for both pitchers against their opponents.

PHILLIES NUGGETS PREGAME NOTES

  • J.T. Realmuto will serve as the DH for the Phillies on Saturday night. He saw action in five previous career games asa DH while with the Miami Marlins in which he hit just .200 with no extra-base hits or RBIs over 22 plate appearances.
  • Since the start of 2018, Maikel Franco is one of three hitters in MLB with more than 25 homers and fewer than 80 strikouts.
  • Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins are the only two players in baseball this season with 25 RBIs and 25 walks.
  • Hoskins leads the NL and is third in MLB with 63 homers since his 8/10/17 big-league debut, and is the only hitter in baseball with more than 60 homers and 145 walks in that period.
  • Since the start of 2017, Odubel Herrera’s 108 extra-base hits as a center fielder rank 4th in the majors.
  • Veteran left fielder Alex Gordon, who homered twice last night, is second in the American League with 64 RBIs since last August 1. Now 35-years-old in his 13th MLB season, Gordon was an AL All-Star each year 2013-15.
  • Gordon’s 95 career outfield assists are tied for most in MLB since 2010. His four this season are tied for sixth in all of baseball. Gordon is a six-time AL Gold Glover in left field, including in each of the last two seasons.
  • Royals third baseman Hunter Dozier entered this series leading the AL in slugging percentage (.661) and OPS (1.088) and ranked second in on-base percentage (.427) and sixth in batting average (.331) in the junior circuit. He went 0-4 with a walk last night.
  • Whit Merrifield and Adalberto Mondesi are tied for the MLB lead with six triples, making them the first teammates with at least six triples through 38 team games since 1981. In comparison, the Phillies entire team has a total of five triples combined.
  • Merrifield, who was thrown out trying to steal second base last night by J.T. Realmuto, has 94 career stolen bases. That is the most in the AL since his May 18, 2016 big-league debut. He led the AL with 34 steals in 2017 and all of MLB with his 45 bases swiped last season.

 

SATURDAY PROGRAMMING INFORMATION

 

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