Can the Phillies stunt the red-hot Diamondbacks?

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber (12) celebrates after his grand slam off of Chicago Cubs’ Jameson Taillon (not shown) with Nick Castellanos, left, Bryson Stott (5) and Bryce Harper (3) during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

After a brutal series in San Francisco, the Phillies returned to South Philly and took care of the Chicago Cubs.

The Phillies took two of three from Chicago and now turn their sights on the Arizona Diamondbacks, one of the better teams in baseball this season. Arizona is 27-20 on the year and has been one of the more surprising teams in 2023. Lead by a young and talented core, the D-Backs are not a team to take lightly.

Young and Dangerous

The Diamondbacks are full of young and dynamic talents, but their star this season has been 22-year-old Corbin Carroll. Carroll is one of the best outfield prospects in all of baseball, and he has been smooth sailing in his short big league tenure.

Batting .284 with a .888 OPS, Carroll’s been a star on both sides of the ball. His elite speed has been a welcomed asset to the Diamondbacks lineup, and I am excited to see a potential JT Realmuto vs. Corbin Carroll matchup in this series.

Another young and upcoming player in the Diamondbacks organization is catcher Gabriel Moreno. Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in the Dalton Varsho trade, Moreno has solidified himself as one of the best catching prospects in baseball.

The young backstop is hitting .311 with an OPS of .725 in his 36 games this season. Combined with Carroll, Arizona has really benefited from a young core at key positions in 2023.

Root for the Home Team

The Phillies have been great at Citizens Bank Park this season and an absolute disaster on the road.

With a home record of 13-8 (and an away record of 9-16), the Phillies have been able to take care of business at home. The Phillies have been averaging near sellouts this season, and the fans are bringing energy and passion to the ballpark (and, on several occasions, hot dogs).

The Diamondbacks have been solid overall but are 13-10 on the road this season. They have been able to take care of business regardless of where they are playing and I expect them to be a tough challenge for the Phillies.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Kyle Schwarber, left, hits a grand slam off of Chicago Cubs’ Jameson Taillon (not shown) during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, May 20, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

With Zack Wheeler set to go Monday, the Phillies have to win the first game of this series. With Dylan Covey set to make his debut for the team on Tuesday and with D-Backs’ ace Zac Gallen going on Wednesday, the Phillies have a clear pitching advantage Monday night.

With Wheeler on the mound, the Phillies can hopefully get some length out of their other ace, allowing the bullpen to hopefully rest with such unknown expectations heading into Tuesday.

Watson’s Watchlist

Battle of the Bullpens

The Phillies have not been great at many aspects of the game this season, but one of their bright spots has been the bullpen.

The Phillies currently have the 6th best-earned run average for a bullpen and have been the best in baseball since May 7th. This includes Jose Alvarado going down with an injury in this time period.

This is the one area in which the Phillies have a clear advantage over Arizona. The bullpen is going to need to be on their A-game in this series, and the Phillies might have to rely on them to win some close games this week.

Bounce Back Brandon

Brandon Marsh was the best hitter in all of baseball in the month of April.

That is not an exaggeration; he quite literally led all of baseball in OPS, which is considered the top-hitting stat in today’s game.

Since then, however, Brandon Marsh has fallen back to Earth, but his recent cold streak has been really hurting the Phillies.

In the month of May, Marsh is hitting just .140 in 17 games. He has just one extra-base hit, and he has struck out 16 times. Although he has walked 11 times and is getting on base, he just isn’t producing with his bat.

The Phillies will need Brandon Marsh to get back on track sooner rather than later. This series could be a nice start to a bounceback for the Phillies’ centerfielder. If he can get back on a roll, this offense could get hot at the right time.