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2020 Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles (7-7) at Philadelphia Phillies (5-6)


The Philadelphia Phillies will remain at Citizens Bank Park for their upcoming three-game series against the Orioles.

The Phillies currently are in third place in the National League East, behind the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves. It’s difficult to compare the Phillies and Marlins to the rest of the team in the division because they’ve played less games, but certainly they need to take care of arguably the least talented team they’ll see this season.

Bryce Harper has had a strong start to the 2020 season. (Ian D’Andrea)

Things were not looking good for the Phillies coming off their doubleheader against the Braves Sunday. But, less than 24 hours after a shut-out loss, something clicked for the team and their bats lit up.

No Braves pitcher could contain the Phillies on Monday. The Phillies hit five home runs throughout the game, starting with Bryce Harper’s three-run home run in the bottom of the first. Roman Quinn hit his first home run in a year, and a little while later we saw Didi Gregorius hit the first grand slam of the Phillies season. Right after Gregorius, Jean Segura stepped up and nailed another one. The onslaught of home runs ended in the bottom of the fourth inning, with a two-run home run by J.T. Realmuto. By the end of the fifth inning, the score was already 13-1.

One would think that the Phillies shouldn’t have too much trouble scoring runs against the Orioles, especially given the hot starts that Harper and Realmuto have had to the 2020 season.

Where the Phillies need to improve is the bullpen. Throughout the season the bullpen has had issues closing out games. This was most apparent against the Braves. Heading into the ninth inning on Monday, the Phillies had a 13-1 lead. By the end of the ninth inning, they had allowed seven runs to finish out the game 13-8.

The Phillies made a series of roster moves Tuesday aimed at improving the bullpen. We’ll see if that unit is able to turn things around against the Orioles.

Shibe Vintage Sports Probable Pitchers

  • Game 1: RHP Alex Cobb (1-1, 2.51 ERA, 4.16 FIP) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.08 ERA, 3.97 FIP)
  • Game 2: LHP Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.91 ERA, 6.11 FIP) vs. RHP Zach Eflin (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 FIP)
  • Game 3: TBA vs. Jake Arrieta (1-1, 2.45 ERA, 3.79 FIP)

Zack Wheeler will make his third start of the season and will look to continue his perfect record. Over those two games, Wheeler has pitched 13 innings, allowed 11 hits, four runs and one home run, while striking out six.

Zach Eflin will be making his second start of the season in Game 2. Eflin pitched a solid game against the Yankees. He allowed four hits and two runs over four innings and ended up striking out five and only walking one batter. The Phillies ended up winning the game, although Eflin didn’t factor into the decision.

Jake Arrieta will round out the series for the Phillies. Arrieta found success against the Braves and contributed to the Phillies 5-0 shutout win last Sturday. It was his first win since he ended his season early in 2019 because of an elbow injury last summer.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets

  • The Orioles have been one of the more successful teams in baseball when swinging at the first pitch. They rank first in the majors in batting average (.475), doubles (T-1st, 9), extra-base hits (16) and OPS (1.435).
  • Both J.T. Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen boast a .500 batting average against Orioles starting pitcher Alex Cobb.
  • The Orioles rank second in the American League and fourth in the majors with a .770 team OPS. Renato Núñez (.973) leads the team and ranks seventh in the AL in OPS among qualifying hitters.

Ticket IQ Programming Information

  • Game 1: Tuesday at 7:05 on NBC Sports Philadelphia and SportsRadio 94WIP
  • Game 2: Wednesday at 7:05 on NBC Sports Philadelphia and SportsRadio 94WIP
  • Game 3: Thursday at 4:05 on NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN, and SportsRadio 94WIP

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