The Phillies are finally back in the City of Brotherly Love after a very successful 5-2 West Coast trip in a pair of series against the Mariners and Dodgers. They’ll host the Padres in a three-game series, hoping to keep the bats firing and the good times rolling.
What we know
The Phillies were somehow able to light the league on fire over the last week. With Jean Segura making a case to be named the best 2B in Baseball, and Bryce Harper proving to be ironman, the Phils have finally been able to capitalize on the early explosions and avoid melting late into games.
The team ranks 5th in the MLB in runs with 172, 50 of which were scored over the west coast trip. They rank 4th in total hits and 2nd in batting average. This bodes well for the Phils, who will be facing a Padres team that ranks 20th in batting average.
However, that is a Padres team that also fields Manny Machado (.359) and Eric Hosmer (.350). They’re 22-13 and somehow are doing this without Fernando Tatis. They cannot be overlooked.
While the starting pitching has been solid for the most part, late-game collapses will still haunt fans for a while until they prove that they can close out games without major wobbles. Offensive explosions helped lift them through high-scoring affairs with the Dodgers, but the Padres rank 21st in hits, which should at least give the bullpen a fighting chance to pitch some more convincing wins.
The Phillies are red-hot right now and come into game 1 as -115 favorites. We don’t know who’s going to be taking the mound for them tonight, but we do know that Zach Eflin could be making his return and will face Mike Clevinger and his 5.00 ERA. If the likes of Segura and Harper can keep hitting dingers, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t waltz to a game one victory.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum