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Velasquez returns to the mound in Arizona series opener

Vince Velasquez takes the mound for the Phillies in the series opener against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. (Photo by Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire)

The Phillies are once again in need of redemption. After what could be the most cringe-worthy loss of the season on Friday, the Phillies followed up with a victory from their ace and a poor effort on Sunday afternoon, leading to a series loss against one of the worst teams in baseball.

The team is still alive and well in the race for a playoff spot. If the season were to end today, they would play a one-off tie breaker for the final wild card spot against the Nationals in D.C. The Phillies need to pick up the pace in order to stay afloat in the race as four teams are within two and a half games of the last wild card spot. The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of those teams.

Despite having an up-and-down season, the D-Backs have made some key pitching acquisitions at the deadline that could push them forward down the stretch. The Phillies will have a look at both of these new arms as both Mike Leake, who was acquired in a trade with Seattle, and Zac Gallen, who came over from Miami, are scheduled to start in this series.

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

Phillies Lineup

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

Diamondbacks Lineup

  1. Ketel Marte, center field
  2. David Peralta, left field
  3. Eduardo Escobar, second base
  4. Christian Walker, first base
  5. Jake Lamb, third base
  6. Adam Jones, right field
  7. Nick Ahmed, short stop
  8. Carson Kelly, catcher
  9. Merrill Kelly, pitcher

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup

  • Vince Velasquez (3-6, 4.40 ERA, 5.45 FIP, 4.54 xFIP) vs. Merrill Kelly (7-11, 4.52 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 4.68 xFIP)
  • Velasquez made a relief appearance against the Diamondbacks in Philadelphia, pitching a scoreless inning in a 2-0 loss. In his career, Velasquez is 1-2 with a 3.93 ERA against the D-Backs.
  • Kelly was brilliant in his only career start against the Phillies in June. He pitched seven and a third scoreless innings , giving up only three hits and striking out five.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets 

  • Norristown, PA resident and Diamondbacks first baseman Christian Walker is second only to Pete Alonso in home runs by National League rookies (20). He is in his fifth season as a big leaguer, but is still rookie eligible.
  • Scott Kingery, a native of Phoenix, AZ, will hope to turn things around after struggling at the plate for much of the previous home stand. He slashed a mere .237/.256/.316 in his last eight games.
  • It will be interesting to see if Gabe Kapler opts to keep Vince Velasquez on the mound once the lineup turns over for a third time assuming he pitches well the first two times around. He has a 17.47 ERA and has given up six home runs when opposing hitters see him for a third time in a game. Velasquez is not the only Phillies starter to struggle the third time through. Jake Arrieta and Aaron Nola both have ERAs over six when facing a lineup for a third time.

Ticket IQ Programming Information

  • 9:40 P.M at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia 
  • Sportsradio 94 WIP; WTTM 1680 (Spanish)

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