Phillies Travel to Milwaukee to Take on Brewers

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)

Death, taxes, and the Phillies ruining their own momentum after playing the Miami Marlins.

Now sitting two games back of the Braves in the NL East and 2.5 games back of the second Wild Card spot, the Phillies have some work to do. With the Mets picking up the pace recently and the Braves hitting the easier part of their remaining schedule, the Phillies have to win at least two of three in this series. Let’s take a look at how they can do it.

Phillies vs. Brewers Probable Pitchers

On paper, the Phillies and Brewers are squaring off in the battle of talented pitching.

For game one, the Phillies’ current ace, Zack Wheeler, takes the bump against Brandon Woodruff. In this afternoon matchup, these two pitchers will battle it out against two middle-of-the-road offenses. Wheeler did find a bit of trouble at times in the month of August, however, has pitched some of his best baseball in September during his career (3.08 ERA, basically tied for best of any single month). On the other hand, Woodruff is having a career season as well. The right-hander is 9-7 with a 2.35 ERA. In four career starts against the Phillies, he has a 2-1 record with a 0.79 ERA within 24.2 innings pitched.

For game two, Aaron Nola will face off against Eric Lauer. Lauer is the weakest pitcher the Phils will face in this series, and he still isn’t even that bad. On the season, the left-hander has a 4-5 record with a 3.43 ERA. Within his two career starts against Philadelphia, Lauer has a 2.25 ERA in 12 total innings pitched. As for the Phillies, Nola has been incredibly up and down this season. However, the right-hander is a flawless 4-0 in seven career starts against Milwaukee, en route to a 2.75 ERA. When in Milwaukee, though, this ERA balloons to 3.63.

Kyle Gibson will round off the series for Philadelphia. In his most recent start against the Marlins, he and the bullpen combined to credit him eight earned runs. Gibby was brought to Philly to eat innings up, and he’s done that as he’s picked up a decision in all seven of his appearances. If you subtract that last start and look solely at his month of August, though, the right-hander pitched in six games en route to an average of over six innings in each start. Gibson will be a pivotal player in this series, especially while matching up against Freddy Peralta. Despite his stellar season so far, Peralta has struggled against Philadelphia in his career (three appearances, 7.20 ERA, only 10 innings pitched).

Phillies to Pay Attention To:

First of all, the bullpen is going to be crucial in this series. If any of the starters have to get pulled early due to pitch count or performance, we can’t let another Archie Bradley in Miami situation happen. The bullpen, despite not being as terrible as last season, still sits in the bottom ten of the MLB (4.52 ERA). Meanwhile, Milwaukee’s bullpen sits as the eighth-best in the entire league. The Phillies need to just score runs and need their starters to stay in the game.

On the offensive side, Andrew McCutchen is my player to watch. For starters, Cutch has hit two of the three Brewers’ starters incredibly well in his career. Against Eric Lauer, Uncle Larry is 7-for-11 with two home runs. When facing off against Freddy Peralta, McCutchen has a .667 batting average. Also, in his last seven games, the right-handed bat is batting a smidge under .300 with two homers. It’s a prime time for Cutch to stay hot and contribute to the middle part of the Phillies’ lineup.

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire