Series Preview: Phillies soar into Milwaukee looking to stay hot

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Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zach Eflin throws during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Phillies and Brewers find themselves on the opposite side of the momentum spectrum headed into their early June meeting. After winning 4 straight and walking off the Angels in spectacular fashion, the Phillies are as hot as any team in baseball. On the other side, the Brewers have lost 3 straight (against the Padres) and lost 5 out of their last 6 games.

If the Phillies’ offense can stay on track, there should be no problem coming out of Milwaukee with a series win. The Brewers are a pitch first hit later team. Their team OPS sits at .705, 17th in baseball. They’re 25th in batting average sitting at .230. Their team ERA is 5th in all of baseball with a 3.41 mark.

Let’s take a peek at the pitching matchups.

Game 1: Ranger Suarez vs. Jason Alexander

I know what you’re thinking.

No, George Costanza is not pitching against the Phillies tonight. But could you imagine if he was? He’d somehow upstage Corbin Burnes just like he did Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams in batting practice.

I kid. I kid.

But seriously, Ranger Suarez will be looking to change his May luck in his first start of June. In his last 4 starts, Ranger posted a 6.27 ERA. There is a sign that he had just bad luck as his FIP sat at exactly 4. This light-hitting Brewers squad is perfect to get the young lefty going.

Jason Alexander has pitched just 1 major league game, going 7 IP and allowing 3 runs and 2 ER. That was against the Cubs, a much lighter-hitting club than the Phillies.

Game 2: Aaron Nola Vs. Adrian Houser

Besides a barrage of hits from the Giants in the 6th inning of his last start, Aaron Nola had allowed just 1 ER in 13.1 IP. Nola has faced a bit of hard luck this season. He has a 3.92 ERA but has a 3.44 FIP. For the 4th straight season, Aaron Nola is striking out over 10 batters per 9 innings. Just like Suarez, the Brewers could be the perfect team for Nola to go up against. He has a 2.63 career ERA against the Brew Crew.

His opponent, Adrian Houser, has a 3.51 ERA on the season. He has a 3.18 career ERA against the Phillies in 17 IP. He’s a groundball pitcher. He’ll try to get the Phillies to hit his pitch. The Phillies hitters will need to be patient in this one. It’s worth noting that he’s walking 4 batters per 9 innings.

Game 3: Eflin Vs. Burnes

Here comes a real challenge for the Phillies’ hitters. The 2021 Cy Young winner, Corbin Burnes, has had a 2.38 ERA since 2020. Burnes currently leads the NL in strikeouts and WHIP (84 and 0.922). This, amazingly, will be Burnes’ first career start against the Phillies.

If the Phillies want to pull out the win, they’ll need Zach Eflin to pitch like he did in his last outing. Against the Angels, Eflin went 8 IP, allowing just 5 hits and a walk. He currently has a 3.88 ERA this season. His 1.137 WHIP is the lowest of his career.

Let’s see if the Phillies’ bats can continue manager Rob Thomson’s 3-game winning streak.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola