The story seemed all too familiar at first on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. The Philadelphia Phillies (49-46) led by five runs heading into the 4th inning. The Los Angeles Dodgers (63-34) had cut the lead to one by the 5th and with one out in the 9th, the Dodgers suddenly were up by two thanks to a three-run home run.
After what could be considered the season’s worst loss the previous night, Phillies fans assumed they were in store for another unique nightmare defeat heading into the bottom of the 9th inning. Who could blame them?
But all that changed when Bryce Harper‘s scorching line drive reached the center-field wall. Cesar Hernandez and Scott Kingery scored, the dugout mobbed Harper in the outfield, and Phillies fans left feeling much better about the team than when they entered.
After a good night’s rest, the reality of yesterday’s win must set in quickly. When questioned after a devastating loss, manager Gabe Kapler prefers to view the defeat as just one game in isolation. Last night’s victory is currently just one win in isolation.
The Phillies are still only three games above .500, have two more games to play against the best team in baseball and now have lost left fielder Jay Bruce to injury. A few more victories, however, can result in last night’s rally being declared a turning point in the 2019 season.
The Phillies will face yet another tough arm tonight in Kenta Maeda. He is often overlooked as part of a stacked Dodgers pitching rotation. So far, Maeda has been a solid arm at the back-end of that rotation.
He will be opposed by Nick Pivetta, who tossed six shutout innings, allowing just three hits in a terrific outing against the Dodgers in Los Angeles last month. The Phillies hope to get this version of Pivetta tonight, rather than the one who has been bombed for 22 earned runs over his last five starts.
Here’s everything you need to know for tonight’s game…
Phillies Starting Lineup
- Cesar Hernandez 2B
- Scott Kingery SS
- Bryce Harper, RF
- Rhys Hoskins, 1B
- Brad Miller, 3B
- Adam Haseley, CF
- Nick Williams, LF
- Andrew Knapp, C
- Nick Pivetta, P
Dodgers Starting Lineup
- Joc Pederson, LF
- Max Muncy, 3B
- David Freese, 1B
- Cody Bellinger, RF
- A.J. Pollock, CF
- Corey Seager, SS
- Enrique Hernandez, 2B
- Russell Martin, C
- Kenta Maeda, P
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup
- Nick Pivetta (4-4, 5.81 ERA, 5.75 FIP, 4.70 xFIP) vs. Kenta Maeda (7-6, 3.82 ERA, 4.31 FIP, 4.41 xFIP)
- Pivetta’s 2.12 career ERA against the Dodgers is the third lowest ERA he has when facing a particular team. In three starts, he has given up only four earned runs, striking out 22 batters while giving up three home runs.
- Maeda is 4-1 with a 4.29 ERA in seven career starts against the Phillies.
- Pivetta’s Fangraphs Projected Line: 5.22 IP, 5.87 H, 1.43 HR, 2.26BB, 4.73K
- Maeda’s Fangraphs Projected Line: 5.64 IP, 5.41 H, 1.19 HR, 2.04 BB, 6.26K
Pregame Phillies Nuggets
- Bruce left last night’s game in the middle innings with a strained right oblique. In his post-game press conference following Tuesday night’s victory, Kapler said Bruce will undergo an MRI. He was placed on the 10-day IL today. Nick Williams has been recalled from AAA Lehigh Valley to replace him.
- Harper’s bat has been known to come alive in the second half of the season throughout his career. He holds a slash line of .282/.380/.494, crushing 74 home-runs and driving in 229 RBIs in the latter half of the season.
- At the beginning of this season, Pivetta was the break-out candidate of the Phillies rotation. He struck out just over 27 percent of batters in 2018 and his curveball metrics (spin-rate, dip and dive) were tops in the league. This year, the effectiveness of his curveball has gone down thanks to a higher usage rate (21.8% in 2018 vs. 31.5% in 2019) and his decline in fastball velocity as he goes deeper into the game.
- Kapler spoke to 94 WIP’s Angelo Cataldi this morning on why he decided to bench Maikel Franco in last night’s game. When recalling his conversation with Franco, Kapler said, “Maikel [speaking to Franco], I know you have the groin that was a little bit tight, but I still can’t play you today. I wouldn’t be able to play you if it was because of a tight groin because we would need to extend you another day, but I still can’t play you today because of that action.“
Ticket IQ Programming Information
- Citizens Bank Park, 7:05 P.M.
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)