Three things to watch in in Phillies’ matchup against Orioles

After splitting a series with the Braves, the Phillies are on to the Orioles. The O’s come into the series with a 7-7 record on the season, but have looked better than most have expected. The Orioles are coming into Philly on the heels of a near sweep of the Nationals as the final game was suspended in the 6th inning with a 5-2 lead.

The most recent matchup between the Orioles and Phillies was in July 2018, and the Phils took all 4 games from the Orioles that season. These are obviously 2 completely different teams in a much different situation, but the Phillies will be entering this series as favorites and look to prove just that.

Do Phillies have a favorable pitching matchup?

The Phillies will send right-hander Zack Wheeler to the mound for the first game in the series. Wheeler has been terrific so far and has a 2-0 record with an ERA of 2.08. In his career against the Orioles Wheeler has a 1-0 record with an ERA of just 0.75 in 2 starts.

The Phillies will be facing right-hander Alex Cobb in this match up. Cobb has battled injuries in his time with the Orioles and was shut-down for the season last year due to a hip injury after just 3 starts. Cobb has come into this season with a lot to prove and so far has backed it up. Through 14.1 innings pitched Cobb has posted an ERA of 2.51 and holds a record of 1-1.

On Wednesday it is expected for Zach Eflin to get the start for the Phils and pitch against Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc has an interesting story as he has bounced around from the MLB to the Minors and even to the Japanese Leagues in his career. He has pitched 14.1 innings so far this year with a record of 1-0, but has an ERA of 6.91. It isn’t clear who will take the hill for the Orioles on Thursday, but Jake Arrieta is expected to get the nod for the Phils.

Orioles Look to Stay Hot

The O’s are riding a 2 game winning streak and have shown to be a more complete team than they were expected to be. Hanser Alberto has led the charge for the Orioles at the plate with a .349 batting average with 7 doubles and 2 home runs. Renato Nunez has also looked extremely good and leads the team with 5 home runs. As a whole, the Orioles have been extremely impressive in nearly every offensive category. The team is 6th in the league in team batting average, ninth in the MLB in runs per 9 innings, and 3rd in the league in OPS. The Phillies pitchers will have a tough task ahead of them in this series and hopefully, the bullpen does not need to be used too much.

Scott Kingery Struggles

After being moved around positionally the past 2 seasons, the 26-year-old second baseman seemed to finally have a stable role going into this season. After impressing last year, Kingery was locked in as the everyday second baseman for this year. With 11 games in the books, doubts are beginning to creep in on if that job is his to keep. Kingery has struggled greatly at the plate this year as he has posted a batting average of just .114. This whole season has been rough on Kingery, as it started with him being late to camp due to catching COVID. Thankfully he has fully recovered, but he still has not played to the level that he needs to produce at.

Joe Girardi has remained complimentary of Kingery so far and seems to think the numbers look worse than it really is. He was quoted by saying, “Some of his at-bats have been pretty good…he has been a tick in front or tick behind.” With Gosselin continuing to produce and the potential call-up of Alec Bohm continuing to linger, the infield is much more crowded than it had once seemed. Kingery needs to turn things around soon, and this Orioles series is as good as any to get started.

Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

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