The Phillies are coming home after a pitiful road trip to Miami and Colorado. The Phils went 2-5 on their road trip and have fallen to a 5-8 record on the season. The team looked lost at times and blew a few late leads that could have changed the course of the trip. After failing to beat teams they should have, the Phillies welcome the 8-5 Milwaukee Brewers to town for a three-game series.
Old Friend Comes Home
Andrew McCutchen will be making his return to Citizens Bank Park this weekend. Uncle Larry was a fan favorite in his three seasons with the team and McCutchen deserves loud applause for his first at-bat back. Cutch’s impact in Philly may have been more off the field than on at times, but he was a fun player to watch and root for. Wishing Andrew nothing but the best (except against the Phillies of course).
Time to Strike
The Milwaukee Brewers were a dominant pitching force in 2021. Led by Cy Young award winner Corbin Burnes, the pitching staff in Milwaukee was the best in the game. The team hasn’t been as strong on the mound in 2022, and the Phillies can use that to their advantage.
The Brewers’ offense has struggled yet again this season. Christian Yelich is trying to find his 2019 self once again and like the rest of the lineup, hasn’t started strong. The Brewers may be 8-5 but they aren’t playing to their record. The Phillies can take advantage of a Brewer team that is also finding themselves.
Players to Watch
The Phillies right-hander got smacked around a little bit in Colorado and it will be interesting to see how he bounces back against Milwaukee. Dominguez has looked solid so far to start his season. Excluding his Rockies outing, he has posted a 1.93 earned run average and 5 strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched. The Phillies need Seranthony to be close to what he was before his Tommy John surgery. Before getting injured he was one of the best relievers in the game and was turning heads around the league. After missing 2019-2021 due to injury, showing that he can bounce back after a bad outing will be the evidence the Phillies need to truly see what they have in their right-handed stopper.
As previously mentioned Andrew McCutchen will be making his return to Philadelphia this weekend. Cutch was a solid hitter with the Phillies the past three seasons and hit 45 doubles and 47 home runs as a Phil. For his career, McCutchen has 32 home runs and 85 runs batted in at Citizens Bank Park. Expect our old friend to have a solid weekend back at the ballpark where he spent each of the last three seasons hitting in. Let’s hope for our sake that he doesn’t do much damage to the Phillies pitchers.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Ranger Suarez (1-0, 5.87 ERA) vs Freddy Peralta (0-1, 11.57 ERA)
Ranger Suarez had a solid second outing of the season. Suarez is still building up arm strength and endurance following a shorten spring, but his results have been promising thus far. Facing off at home against a weaker Brewers lineup will be an early test to see how close Ranger is to returning to his full potential.
Freddy Peralta is the third ace in the three headed monster that is the Brewers’ starting rotation. Peralta has gotten off to a rough start in 2022 but he should be taken seriously as he can shut down any offense on any given night. Peralta will be the best pitcher the Phillies face in this series, however the rest of the rotation is no joke. The Phillies need to jump on Freddy early in his start and try and get him out of the game.
Zack Wheeler (0-2, 9.39 ERA) vs Adrian Houser (0-2, 2.89 ERA)
Everyone needs to pump the brakes on their Zack Wheeler takes. Wheeler pitched the most innings in baseball last season and for a league that is trending away from starters going 200 innings, he is going to need some time to recoup. Wheeler felt soreness in his throwing arm this off-season and the Phillies are continuing to slow play his return. His results on the field should be taken with a grain of salt, and Zack should be back to form in May.
Adrian Houser is certainly not a household name but his talent speaks for itself. Houser is a veteran right-hander who has spent six years in the big leagues. He has excellent sinker that he uses more than fifty percent of his pitch selection. The Phillies have been the best fastball hitting team in the league, so they should be wary against Adrian’s sinker. Out of his hand it may appear to be a fastball but some late movement is enough to throw off the best of Major League hitters.
Aaron Nola (1-2, 5.52 ERA) vs Eric Lauer (1-0, 3.48 ERA)
If you are keeping track like I am, Aaron Nola has given up a homerun in each start of 2022. Nola always finds a way to leave a pitch over the middle of the plate and it has just become expected in his starts. Outside of the homeruns Aaron has been very solid this season, as the majority of his earned runs have come from the long ball. The Brewers offense is no sleeping giant and good pitching will be enough to keep the scoring low. Aaron just has to take better care of the ball and cannot afford to leave one hanging in his start on Sunday.
Eric Lauer is another Adrian Houser in the sense that nobody knows who he is but his pitching ability is fantastic. Lauer is a command dominant pitcher and isn’t going to blow away hitters with his stuff. Good placement and pitch mix keep hitters off balance and keeps Lauer in games. Phillies fans can compare him to Jamie Moyer and how Moyer was a true pitcher with his command and pitch selection. Lefties might struggle against him in this game but patience at the plate and waiting for your pitch will be key in the Phillies running up the score on the Brewer’s fifth starter.
Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire