Series preview: Hey Dodgers, Meet the Surging Phillies

MLB: AUG 25 Phillies at Nationals
WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 25: Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) congratulates right fielder Bryce Harper (3) after scoring a run during the Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals MLB game at Nationals Park on August 25, 2020 in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)


For the first time since 2011, the Phillies have an 8-game win streak active. From July 29th to August 6th, 2011, the Phillies had a 9-game win streak fueled by the Four Aces. To match that total, the Phillies must face the beast of the National League: the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers might be in 2nd place in the NL West, but don’t let that fool you. They’re 67-45 and 4-2 in the month of August.

In order to win this series, the Phillies must continue timely hitting and quality pitching. Can they continue their winning ways? Let’s break it down.

Pitching Match-Ups

Tuesday features a classic foe in a new uniform.

Max Scherzer is back in Philadelphia. Mad Max has a 14-4 record against the Phillies with a 2.55 ERA for his career. In 2021, he’s a perfect 3-0 against the Phillies with a 1.45 ERA. A 9th straight win will not come easy.

He’ll face off against Aaron Nola. The Phillies’ ace of the staff hasn’t looked like one in 2021. Nola currently has a 4.49 ERA. He does have one thing going for him in this game. He’s looked like an ace in Citizens Bank Park. At home this year, Nola has a 3.18 ERA, a 1.006 WHIP, and a 12.1 K/9 rate.

Phillies’ hitters must scratch and claw their way to some runs if they want to win their 9th straight.

On Wednesday, things look a bit more manageable for the Fightin’s. Aging Cy Young winner David Price will start just his 9th game of the season. He has a 3.45 ERA as a starter this season but has only averaged about 3 2/3 innings per start.

Price has allowed multiple runs in each of his last 3 starts, going no further than 5 2/3 IP in any of them.

Kyle Gibson will make his third start as a Phillie. So far, he has a 2.13 in 12.2 IP for the Phillies. With his high ground ball rate, the Phillies defense will need to be on their toes and not open the door for the Dodgers.

Thursday seems to be a mystery as both teams have yet to list pitchers. TBD rules supreme in this game. Matt Moore would be my best guess for the Phillies.

Dodgers Players to Watch

According to DraftKings, Max Muncy has the 3rd best odds (+450) to win NL MVP behind Fernando Tatis Jr. (+100) and Bryce Harper (+275). The first baseman is slashing a .275/.408/.543 with 22 home runs. On the flip side, he’s currently on a 13-game home run drought. In that span, he has a .715 OPS.

The real problem for the Phillies will be the 2020 MVP, Mookie Betts. Currently, he’s sporting a .899 OPS. What should be concerning for the Phillies is what he’s done in the past 10 games. The center fielder is hitting .526 with a 1.683 OPS in that span. He could be a thorn in the Phillies’ side.

AJ Pollock is another hot back for the Dodgers. The left fielder has at least a hit in his last 15 starts. In those starts, he’s hitting .426. Yikes.

Phillies Players to Watch

Mean Jean The Hitting Machine Segura has been a sparkplug for the Phillies offense. For the season, the second baseman is hitting .309. He’s been even hotter in the month of August, hitting .346 with a 1.182 OPS.

As I mentioned before, Bryce Harper is one of the favorites to with NL MVP this season. Still rocking the rare 3/4/5 slash line, Harper has been murdering baseballs since the start of July. In that time, he’s slashed .342/.453/.667. In August, he’s be on a power trip. Nine of his 11 August hits have been extra base hits.

Rhys Hoskins has been wonderful to watch on the bench during big hits.

Hopefully, the Phillies first baseman can return during this series as he was hot before reagrevating his groin. In the last 10 games he played, Hoskins was hitting .394 with a 1.292 OPS. His presence in the lineup would surely help the Phillies against the Dodgers’ pitchers.

Don’t sleep on Alec Bohm either. Since June 1st, the young third baseman has been quietly hitting .315. His cold spring has turned into a Hot Alec Summer.

Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire