Tale of the Tape
The Phillies (76-70) continue their six-game homestand and welcome the Boston Red Sox (77-70) into town for a quick two-game interleague series. Following a 9-5, series-splitting victory over the Braves, the Phillies look to maintain their winning ways at Citizens Bank Park.
Boston, whom the Phillies swept in their last endeavor earlier in the season, is a far cry from the well-oiled, World Series-winning machine they emulated last season. Losers of seven of their last ten, the BoSox are reeling right now and the Phils desperately need to take advantage as they try to keep pace in the NL Wild Card race.
9/14: Eduardo Rodriguez vs Aaron Nola, 7:05 EST
Rodriguez is starting to come into his own in his fifth season in the big leagues. The southpaw has already surpassed his previous career-high of 13 in wins, recording 17 wins with 15 games remaining for Boston, and would set a new career-high in earned run average as well should his 3.73 ERA hold or improve by season’s end.
The 26-year-old lefty has allowed one run or fewer in three of his last five outings, so he’ll be no easy opponent for the Phils, though they bat an impressive .260 against lefties this season.
Taking the mound in the series opener is none other than Phillies ace Aaron Nola. Nola has had an up-and-down season, as he’s uncharacteristically averaging nearly four walks per ballgame, but he should still have enough juice to handle a struggling Red Sox team.
Nola dominated Boston the last time he squared off against the defending champs, posting a line of 7 IP, 7 Ks, 2 ER, and 1 BB in a 3-2 victory in Boston. He’s had a rocky start to September, so hopefully, he’s able to shake off those struggles and bounce back in a big way tonight.
9/15: Rick Porcello vs Jason Vargas, 1:05 EST
This season has not been very kind to right-hander Rick Porcello. Frankly, he’s been dreadful, currently boasting a putrid 5.83 ERA through 29 starts. He’s allowed three or more runs in three of his last four starts (including 6 ER in each of his last two outings) and has failed to pitch beyond the fifth inning in nearly a month. Look for the Phils to be aggressive at the plate and try to get to him early and often.
Unfortunately, life may be just as easy for the Red Sox offense as it should be for the Phils. Suffering through a scarcity of dependable pitchers within the organization, the Phils are forced to roll out 36-year-old southpaw Jason Vargas in the series finale. After a relatively decent start to the season with the Mets, Vargas has been awful in Philly. His ERA currently sits at 5.01 since the trade and he has yet to record a single win in eight starts for the Phils. I’d expect him to be on a very short lease versus a Red Sox offense that boasts the 10th-most home runs this season.
Despite being 10 games back in the AL Wild Card race, defeating the Red Sox will be no small task for Philly. The team could really use a big game from Aaron Nola to secure a win in the opener over Rodriguez before things get a tad easier with a favorable matchup against Porcello.
The fightin’ Phils have already stolen a couple of games from the Sox in Boston and, now, they’ll look to do the same at home at CBP.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jalyn is a 22-year old journalist from Saint Louis, MO trying to make his mark in the industry. Want to follow his journey? Follow him on Twitter at @JustJalyn_ or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org