Series Preview: Phillies return home to host surging Kansas City Royals

Phillies Alec Bohm and JT Realmuto
Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm (28) celebrates with J.T. Realmuto after hitting a two-run home run off Washington Nationals starting pitcher MacKenzie Gore during the third inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 1, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Home sweet home. The Phillies return home after a 4-3 road trip in which they took three of four games from the Miami Marlins.

Sitting with a one-game lead in the second Wild Card spot, Philadelphia is set to start the longest home series of their season, ten consecutive games at Citizens Bank Park.

With August beginning, the Phils have a little under two months to secure their spot in the National League Wild Card and bring playoff baseball back to Philadelphia for a second straight year.

Phillies need to take care of business

Currently rocking a 59-50 record, the Phillies welcome the red-hot Kansas City Royals to town. The Royals have won 6 straight games, including a 3-game sweep over the New York Mets.

The Royals have one of the worst records (35-75) in all of baseball, which means the Philly should take care of business in this series.

Look Out for Witt

The Phillies shouldn’t fear anyone in the Kansas City lineup, but they should have an eye out for Bobby Witt Jr.

A young phenom, Witt Jr. leads Kansas City’s club and has become a star in his own right.

Witt is hitting .269 on the season with a .781 OPS. He has hit 19 home runs and stolen 31 bags for the Royals. He has reached his marks from last season, with roughly 50 games left to be played.

He is by far their best player and someone to build the future around. But for the time being, the Phillies shouldn’t have to worry about getting outs against this Royals team.

Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm (28) congratulates Jake Cave, right, after winning a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians, Sunday, July 23, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

It’s Go Time

If there were ever a time for Philadelphia to go on a run, it should start now. It is hard to sweep a big-league club, but Philly should sweep the Kansas City Royals.

A team that is nowhere close to the talent level of the Phils, the Royals have no business competing in this series.

The Phillies are all-around better in every aspect of the game, but Kansas City isn’t just going to hand these games away.

If the Phils play a clean brand of baseball, they should walk out of this series with three more wins and head into the Nationals series with a five-game win streak.

Phillies Aaron Nola
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh, Sunday, July 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Starting Pitchers

The starting pitcher matchups for this series are as follows:

  • Aaron Nola (9-7, 4.43) vs Jordan Lyles (2-12, 6.15 ERA)
  • Cristopher Sanchez (0-3, 2.66 ERA) vs Alec Marsh (0-5, 6.75 ERA)
  • Taijuan Walker (12-4, 3.99 ERA) vs Zack Grienke (1-11, 5.32 ERA)

The Royals starters are a combined 3-28 as a group. While wins and losses aren’t the most important pitching stat by any means, it summarizes how back this club has been this season.

The offense should be abundant this weekend, and it could be a great chance for guys who have been struggling to get going (looking at you, Trea Turner).

I expect this to be a great weekend of Phillies baseball. We shall see how this all plays out over the coming days.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Derik Hamilton