In a series that featured three very different types of games, the Philadelphia Phillies dropped a series at home for just the third time this season.
Game 1 of the Phillies-Arizona Diamondbacks series was the ultimate slugfest, featuring an MLB record 13 home runs, and ultimately ended with the D-Backs on top.
In game two, the Phillies took the lead on a Scott Kingery home run (more on that later), and didn’t look back despite a somewhat shaky start from Jake Arrieta.
Game three was without offense, as a pitcher’s duel between Zach Eflin and Merrill Kelly ultimately fell in Arizona’s favor.
Here are three key statistics to know following from this series loss and what they mean for the Phillies moving forward.
Three: Home runs for Scott Kingery
Kingery, who only had one hit in the Reds series, quickly eliminated any thought of an ongoing slump. In game one of this series, he hit two solo home runs and a triple, and followed that up with an early three-run shot that gave the Phillies the lead in game two.
Kingery’s struggles were a big topic of conversation in 2018, but he has quickly turned around any negative narratives surrounding him with a big start to his 2019 campaign. In 36 games, the 25-year-old has a .315/.356/.613, and his .969 OPS leads the Phillies. He has done this all while playing center field regularly for the first time in his professional career, which has suddenly become a very important trait to the team with Andrew McCutchen’s injury.
2.13: Zach Eflin’s home ERA this season
Eflin, who was considered the fourth starter heading into this season, has been the Phillies best starting pitcher this year. At home this year, he has been unhittable, with this 2.13 ERA and a 1.039 WHIP and has held hitters to a .581 OPS. In six games at home, he has pitched 42.1 innings, and he is on pace to become the first Phillies pitcher to average seven innings per game at home since Cliff Lee did it in 2013.
It’s hard to imagine where the Phillies would be without Eflin at this point. Prior to Nick Pivetta’s recent resurgence, no starter had come close to meeting their expectations for 2019 other than Eflin. He has been excellent, and the Phillies will continue to rely on him while the other members of the rotation hope to figure things out.
One: Hit for Cesar Hernandez all series
I detailed it in the Reds series recap, but Cesar Hernandez has been struggling mightily of late. This slump started before the McCutchen injury, but is amplified now because Hernandez has taken over at the leadoff spot. Since moving up in the lineup, Hernandez is hitting .125/.222/.188 and has only four hits in those eight games.
The Phillies offense has failed to meet the hefty expectations set out for them before this season started, and failed to score any runs Wednesday night after two solid offensive performances during the first two games of the series. Production from the leadoff spot is imperative for an offense to function well, and the Phillies need to address that rather than waiting Hernandez out.
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