Series Preview: Phillies travel to Boston for two-game stretch

MLB: AUG 16 Mets at Phillies
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 16: Philadelphia Phillies Left Fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) and Philadelphia Phillies Right Fielder Bryce Harper (3) and Philadelphia Phillies Center Fielder Scott Kingery (4) tap gloves to celebrate the victory after the ninth inning of the Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies on August 16, 2020, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)
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The Phillies finally looked like a team that could make the expanded MLB playoffs this past weekend with a three-game sweep of the rival New York Mets. Next on the docket? A two-game, very sweep-able series against the Boston Red Sox who are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history. The Red Sox have looked awful all season while the Phillies have just been inconsistently frustrating. Let’s take a look at the two-game series matchup.

Do projected Pitching Matchups favor the Phillies?

Game 1: Tuesday 8/18 7:30pm

Zach Eflin vs. Zack Godley

Make no mistake. The Red Sox pitching staff is absolutely atrocious. Boston will most likely send out Zack Godley who has been highly inconsistent this year sporting a 0-2 record, with a  8.16 ERA. Godley was blasted last week against the Rays, giving up eight earned runs through three innings of work. On the other side, Eflin has looked pretty solid in his two starts this season. He is 0-1 with a healthy 3.60 ERA. Eflin took the loss against Baltimore on the 12th, last week, giving up four runs in six innings of work.

Game 2: Wednesday 8/19 1:35pm

Jake Arrieta vs. Kyle Hart

Jake Arrieta will most likely get the call in game two of this series. He’s 1-2 this year with a 4.02 ERA . In last week’s game against Baltimore, he looked really good through four innings but ended up giving four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. He clearly isn’t the same pitcher he was in Chicago but he does in fact look better than he did in his atrocious 2019 season. Kyle Hart on the other hand is coming over his Major League debut in which he gave up three runs before even recording an out. The 19th round selection in 2016, Hart lasted all of two innings against Tampa and was tattooed for seven hits…in two innings. Arrieta will have the edge here again.

Who has the edge?

Lineup: Advantage Philadelphia

One thing that may come surprising to everyone is that the Phillies actually do not strike out a lot. In fact, the lineup has the lowest strikeout total across the MLB. Rhys Hoskins’ bat has greatly improved over the last couple of games, and the team’s lineup looked pretty solid in the prior series against the Mets. Boston’s lineup meanwhile has not been able to make up for their awful pitching staff especially in the last couple series against the Yankees and Rays. Philadelphia’s lineup is clearly better at this point.

Starting Rotation: Philadelphia

Let’s be fair. The Phillies starting rotation has looked really good at times. Both Eflin and Arrieta have shown some positive sights this season while Boston has just one pitcher with an ERA under 5 (!!!). This is a really easy pick.

Bullpen: Push??

Forget the past series against the Mets for one minute. This was a legitimate stat last week:

Yes, this was almost a week ago but the Phillies bullpen has been atrocious. The Phillies have 11 bullpen arms with ERA’s over 5. Nothing about the bullpen has been good to see. The only consolation is that the Red Sox bullpen isn’t that much better holding the worst ERA in baseball. Both bullpens are bad, plain and simple.

Prediction: Phillies sweep the series, get over .500

Boston is that bad y’all.

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire