A new American hero, 3 walk-off wins, and a dominant Aaron Nola start have put the Phillies back over .500. The New York Yankees were the latest victim of the Phillies, being swept by them for the first time since 1997.
Now the Phillies head to the bright lights of Hollywood to square up against the reigning World Series Champion LA Dodgers. Can they fill the role of the underdog and steal a series win out west? Let’s break it down.
Dodger Black and Blue
With the Phillies‘ momentum, they’re heading into Los Angeles at the perfect time. The Dodgers are facing both injuries and slumping players.
In 2021, the Dodgers’ best player had been Max Muncy. Before catching in injury bug, Muncy led the team in home runs (14), OBP (.418), and slugging % (.528). They’ll also be missing World Series hero Corey Seager. The shortstop has missed a considerable chunk of games this season. He had a .783 OPS before hitting the Injured List.
Since returning from a hairline fracture in his left leg, the 2019 NL MVP Cody Bellinger has hit just .233 with a single extra-base hit for the Dodgers. Former 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts is hitting just .194 in his last 8 games. His batting average for the year is down to .253.
Missing 2/3 of the Big Guns
Everyone knows the Dodgers have one of the best rotations in baseball with 3 certified aces at the top. Trevor Bauer, Walker Buehler, and Clayton Kershaw have all been excellent with ERAs of 2.64, 2.38, and 3.39, respectfully.
Luckily, the Phillies won’t see either Buehler (as he has days off) or Bauer in this series. Kershaw could still be a thorn in the Phillies side, but he’s slated to face off against Zack Wheeler *chef’s kiss*.
Instead of Buehler and Bauer, the Phillies will face Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin. Here’s why that shouldn’t scare anyone. Urias is coming off of a rough patch of games. he has a 5.63 ERA in his last 3 starts, including giving up 3 runs to the lowly Pirates in his last appearance. Gonsolin has started just one game after returning from shoulder inflammation. He went just an inning and 2/3 against those same lowly Pirates. Don’t expect him to go more than 4 innings.
The Philadelphia Streakers
The Phillies have a 4-game win streak heading into this series. As we grow nearer to the official start date of summer, the Phillies’ bats have been growing hotter.
Jean Segura has been on fire, hitting .424 since the start of June. He also was the walk-off hero for the Phillies in back-to-back games.
Odubel Herrera has been pretty hot too. Since May 31st, he’s hitting .364 with a 1.005 OPS. In his last 10 starts, JT Realmuto has at least one hit and is hitting .324 in that time span. Bryce Harper could also be heating up as he hit .444 against the Yankees.
Beware Dodgers’ pitchers. You have been warned.
Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire