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Vargas set for Phillies debut in White Sox series opener


Realmuto fell a triple shy of the cycle on Thursday. (Ian D’Andrea)

Moments after the July 31 trade deadline, General Manager Matt Klentak challenged his current group of players to carry the team:

For this team to accomplish what it wants to accomplish, we’re going to need the stars in that room to carry us.We have the talent. We had a very splashy offseason. We brought in a lot of talent and those guys are going to have to do what they do to push us into October.

The lineup was clicking top-to-bottom in yesterday’s 10-2 victory against the Giants. César Hernández and Roman Quinn contributed to the cause with a home run a-piece as the team combined for 12 hits, including five for extra bases. More importantly, the Phillies may have found the star bat in the lineup who can carry the team through the crucial August stretch. J.T. Realmuto, who now sports an OPS of 1.208 in his last six games, went 3-5 with a three-run home run, a double and a single.

Klentak’s belief in his stars doesn’t go as far as refusing marginal upgrades at the deadline. One of those marginal upgrades will make his debut tonight in the starting rotation. Jason Vargas, who was acquired by the team along with cash considerations from the Mets in exchange for Double A catcher Austin Bossart, has been excellent this season after getting off to a slow start. He has a 3.34 ERA and 4.01 FIP since returning from the IL with a hamstring injury in mid-May. He was brought on board in hopes of adding some stability to one of the worst starting rotations in baseball, aside from Aaron Nola.

Here’s everything you need to know for tonight’s matchup…

Phillies Lineup

  1. César Hernández, second base
  2. Jean Segura, short stop
  3. Rhys Hoskins, first base
  4. Bryce Harper, right field
  5. J.T. Realmuto, catcher
  6. Scott Kingery, third base
  7. Adam Haseley, left field
  8. Jason Vargas, pitcher
  9. Roman Quinn, center fielder

White Sox Lineup

  1. Leury Garcia, right field
  2. Tim Anderson, short stop
  3. José Abreu, first base
  4. Eloy Jiménez, left field
  5. James McCann, catcher
  6. Ryan Goins, third base
  7. Adam Engel, center field
  8. Yolmer Sánchez, second base
  9. Iván Nova, pitcher

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup

  • Jason Vargas (6-5, 4.01 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 5.21 xFIP) vs. Iván Nova (6-9, 5.23 ERA, 5.22 FIP, 4.78 xFIP)
  • Vargas last start against the White Sox was almost two years ago. As a member of the Kansas City Royals, Vargas went six innings, allowing six hits, three earned runs while striking out seven in a win at Guaranteed Rate Field. In his career against the ChiSox, Vargas is 3-3 with a 5.79 ERA.
  • Nova’s numbers against the Phillies are solid. In five career starts, Nova is 2-1 with 2.53 ERA. His last start against the Phillies came just last year as a member of the Pirates. He went six innings and only gave up five hits and one earned run in an April victory at Citizens Bank Park.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets 

Tonight marks the start of alumni weekend. Before Saturday’s game, members of the 2009 Phillies will compete in a Home Run Derby Batting Challenge at the Yard in Ashburn Alley and Bobby Abreu will be inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame. The next day, the 2009 National League Champion Phillies will take the field in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the team’s pennant victory. One player from the 2009 team who will be in attendance is former closer Brad Lidge. He recently spoke with Phillies Nation Editorial Director Tim Kelly on his struggles in 2009. You can read the full article here, but this is what he had to say when asked to reflect upon the 2009 season:

I think we were good enough to win more than one for sure, but it takes more than just being good. It takes everything breaking right at the right time also. So yeah, you look back and say ‘Man, those were some great teams, maybe we could have won another one,’ but thank God we got one of them done.

  • It has been a miserable season for the White Sox. They are currently 19 games back of first place in the AL Central and have lost 18 of their last 23. Third baseman Yoan Moncada has been a bright spot for this team. He holds a slash line of .301/.358/.535, has drove in 20 home runs and 59 RBIs and currently leads the team with a 3.9 fWAR. Fortunately for  Phillies pitching, they will miss out on facing him at the plate as he was placed on the 10-day IL prior to yesterday’s game against the Mets.
  • Another trade deadline acquisition will join the team tonight. The Phillies announced earlier today that Corey Dickerson will be available off the bench for tonight’s game. To correspond with the move, Adam Morgan has been placed on the 10-day IL with a left flexor strain, retroactive August 1.

Ticket IQ Programming Information

  • 7:05 P.M at Citizens Bank Park
  • NBC 10
  • Sportsradio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

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