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Vargas, Phillies aim for series victory in Arizona

Jason Vargas takes the mound looking to lead the Phillies to a series win in Arizona (Destiny Lugardo/PN)

The Philadelphia Phillies (59-54) will look to take their series from the Arizona Diamondbacks (57-57) on Wednesday night in the rubber match that pits Jason Vargas against 24-year-old rookie Zac Gallen. After starting their long road trip on a high note, the Phils had big issues scoring runs on Tuesday night, leaving 12 men on base.

Heading into play on Wednesday, the Phillies hold a Wild Card spot, but it is anything but secure. They are one game behind the Nationals, who hold the other Wild Card Spot. St. Louis is a half game back while both the Brewers and Mets (yes, the Mets) are only one game behind. Arizona is 2.5 back so a win for them would bring them closer to a playoff spot. Atlanta won earlier in the day, so they are currently 7.5 games ahead of the Phillies.

The Phillies have had a lot of trouble with runners in scoring position all season and it continued in game two of the series. On Tuesday night, they had 19 baserunners but were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position. They are hitting .255 with runners in scoring position this season (25th in MLB) and .231 since July 1. The Athletic’s Jayson Stark notes that Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper are a combined 0 for their last 23 with runners in scoring position. Philadelphia averages 7.18 runners left on base per game, which is 27th best in MLB.

Phillies Lineup

  1. Corey Dickerson (LF)
  2. Rhys Hoskins (1B)
  3. Bryce Harper (RF)
  4. J.T. Realmuto (C)
  5. Jean Segura (SS)
  6. Cesar Hernandez (2B)
  7. Scott Kingery (3B)
  8. Adam Haseley (CF)
  9. Jason Vargas (P)

Diamondbacks Lineup

  1. Ketel Marte (CF)
  2. David Peralta (LF) 
  3. Eduardo Escobar (3B) 
  4. Christian Walker (1B)
  5. Adam Jones (RF) 
  6. Wilmer Flores (2B) 
  7. Nick Ahmed (SS) 
  8. Carson Kelly (C) 
  9. Zac Gallen (P)

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup

  • Jason Vargas (6-5, 3.93 ERA) vs. Zac Gallen (1-3, 2.72 ERA)
  • Vargas hasn’t made a start against the Diamondbacks this season and went 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in one start against them in 2018. He is 2-3 with a 6.82 ERA in six career starts against Arizona and has a 9.42 ERA in three starts at Chase Field. Vargas allowed two runs in six innings during his Phillies debut against the White Sox.
  • Gallen will be making his first start as a member of the Diamondbacks on Wednesday night. He was dealt to Arizona at the trade deadline from the Marlins. He made his big league debut on June 20, 2019 and is off to a strong start. The 24-year-old right-hander has a 2.72 ERA, striking out 43 and walking 18 in seven starts. In his last outing, he allowed two runs in seven innings while striking out eight against the Twins.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets

  • Phoenix-native Scott Kingery is 8-for-20 this season against the Diamondbacks, with seven extra-base hits — four home runs, two doubles and a triple.
  • To find Jason Vargas’ last victory against the Diamondbacks, you’d have to go back over 10 years. The last time he beat them was on June 20, 2009, as a member of the Seattle Mariners.
  • USA Today’s Bob Nightengale penned a piece about Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. While many fans want the second-year skipper gone, especially if the playoffs aren’t reached, that is unlikely to happen. According to Nightengale, Kapler “remains beloved by the front office.”
  • Bryce Harper, among other players, gave his support for Kapler:  “I’ve really enjoyed him because he really cares. He’s super genuine about everything he does. The way he approaches every day, he’s very positive, and he lets us take control of our clubhouse. I think he’s been great.’’ Jake Arrieta, Rhys Hoskins and Jean Segura also praised Gabe for the way he communicates.

Programming Information

  • 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday, August 7 at Chase Field
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP

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