The Phillies return to action later today to face the Toronto Blue Jays after dropping the first of a two-game series in disappointing fashion. Here’s all you need to know.
Last time out
The first game in the series was a grueling matchup for the Phils. It was actually the first time that a Canadian manager managed an MLB game in his home country, which is a wild statistic when you consider the scope and growth of the MLB. Unfortunately, the Phillies couldn’t etch Rob Thomson into the history books as the first Canadian coach to win a game on home soil.
The Phillies bullpen was forced into action early and genuinely looked great. They provided more than enough lifelines for the offense to kick momentum back into their favor, but it wasn’t to be. The Phils have only scored 10 runs in their last 5 games, and 3 of them came yesterday. Things have been too quiet and with Nick Castellanos really struggling to pull his weight, it’s fair to say the team’s being held down by the fact that when the big names inevitably cool off, there just isn’t enough gas to keep the fire burning.
Zack Wheeler (8-4, 2.46 ERA) vs Ross Stripling (4-3, 3.34 ERA)
If there is ever a day for Wheeler to show the world why he was snubbed from the All-Star game, this is the one. The bullpen will be exhausted after a slog last night and Wheeler now goes up against someone whose changeup is rapidly becoming one of the most lethal in the MLB. Stripling is the league’s 24th ranked starting pitcher and has put in some brilliant performances so far. If the Phils are quiet at the plate again, Wheeler is going to need to pick up the team and carry it on his back.
I really like the run total here. As aforementioned, the Phillies offense is cooling off and there are two excellent pitchers at the mound. There were only 7 runs scored last night and I can see 7 or less being punched in tonight.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum