The Phillies head to San Diego to close their final west coast trip against the Padres. The Phillies last took on the Padres at home over July 4th weekend. Philadelphia went into that series below .500 and in fourth place in the division but were able to take two of three from one of the best teams in the National League at the time. After getting swept by the lowly Diamondbacks, the Fightin’s hope to bounce back and fix their road woes (25-35 on the road) before returning home.
A fleeting offense
The Phillies came into the season hoping they would outhit their pitching and defensive deficiencies. While the defense is still a struggle, the Pitching has stepped up as of recent. The NAIT, Zack Wheeler, is firmly entrenched in the Cy Young race, while deadline addition Kyle Gibson and closer-turned-starter Ranger Suarez have pitched well enough to keep you in games. The bullpen has also been less terrible as of late. On paper, that should be a winning formula for the Phillies. Unfortunately, the offense has seemingly forgotten how to hit all at once.
To be fair, a lot of at-bats have been given to bench players, recently. Whether that be due to injury or wanting to give Alec Bohm a “reset.” Girardi recently said, in regards to Bohm’s sitting and defense: “You have to think about winning right now. It’s not April 15, right? It’s August. So, you’ve got to think about winning right now.” Something has to give here. For Bohm to figure his struggles out, he needs regular reps. Keeping him in early and using a defensive replacement late or a lineup change so Bryce Harper gets more pitches to hit, anything to give this team a jolt in the arm. Luckily for the Phils, most of their hitters have a good track record that shows they won’t stay cold for long. The team struggle to the tune of a 25-35 record on the road.
Slam Diego has their own struggles
The once mighty San Diego Padres have come crashing down to earth as of late. They are 14-16 since the all-star break, and 1-7 in their last eight games. The stretch included losing three of four to those pesky D-backs and getting swept by Colorado. Newest addition and former Phillies, Jake Arrieta, clinched the sweep in typical Arrieta fashion. They may still hold the second wild card spot, but the Cincinnati Reds are only one game back.
The offense for the Padres has been the story for most of the season, especially the beginning of the year. Fernando Tatis Jr. has returned from the injured list with a bang, hitting three home runs in four games. He went 5-12 with three doubles and four runs scored against Philly in their previous meeting this season. Another important piece, Manny Machado, has struggled as of late. He has just a .529 OPS over the past two weeks. The Phillies could not keep him in check earlier this year either. He had a .400/.538/1.300 slash line during Independence Day weekend in Philly. One player the Phillies hope to keep in check is Adam Frazier. He was having a career year with the Pirates before being acquired by the Padres prior to the trade deadline. He has not been what San Diego was hoping for.
Frazier was traded to SD after the Phillies first meeting with the Friars but prior to their first meeting with the Pirates. He has a career .238 / .304 / .338 line against Philadelphia, well below his career average.
The Padres starters have not pitched great this season to the tune of a 4.38 ERA. The Phillies will see their best starter, Joe Musgrove. But, with Yu Darvish on the IL and Blake Snell’s season long struggles, combined with the potential return of Hoskins, the Phillies should be able to take advantage of a team that is flailing just as much as they are. I think the offense explodes for at least one of the games, and the bullpen saves us in another. They need a series win to right the ship.
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