Series preview: Phillies hit the road for rematch with the Reds

Bryce Harper Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper reacts after hitting an RBI-sacrifice flay against Chicago White Sox pitcher Tanner Banks during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Philadelphia Phillies are on a hot streak, winning their last 6 ballgames, and will look to continue that momentum as they hit the road for their second trip away from Citizens Bank Park this year. As they head to the Midwest, they will face a team they have already seen in 2024 – the Cinicinnati Reds.

After losing 2 of 3 to Cincy in just the second series of the season, Philly has not lost a series since. They won 2 on the road against Washington and St. Louis, before returning home for a successful home stand. The Phillies went 8 and 2 over that stretch, including a series against the Pirates, and back-to-back sweeps of the Rockies and White Sox.

The Reds are coming off a sweep in their own right, and their young core has continued to produce all month long. Let’s look at the matchup.

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Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ricardo Pinto wipes his face after being pulled during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Phillies vs Reds: Pitching matchups

Philadelphia is coming in to the series with the hottest starting staff in all of baseball. Their starters have averaged more than 7 innings a start over the last week. That stretch includes 2 late game no-hit bids, a complete game, and 48 Ks over 44.2 innings.

Game 1

Monday will see Ranger Suárez (3-0, 1.73 ERA) toe the rubber for the Phillies. He will be countered by the Reds’ Hunter Greene (0-1, 4.35 ERA). Neither man saw the opposition when these teams met earlier in the season. Ranger has faced the Reds a few times in his career – holding a 2.86 ERA over 22 innings (7 appearances, 3 starts) against them in his career.

Greene has 1 appearance against the Phillies back in April of 2023. He went 4.2 innings and threw 93 pitches, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in a game Philadelphia would go on to win, 5 to 2.

Game 2

Tuesday night, the Phillies will send Cristopher Sánchez (1-2, 2.53 ERA) out to face off against Andrew Abbott (1-2, 2.70 ERA). These two battled back on April 1 to open the prior series between the clubs. Sanchez pitched well through 5 innings in that outing, but after allowing the first 2 runners to reach in the 6th, he was replaced and the bullpen was unable to prevent both men from scoring – so both runs were credited to the starter.

Abbott faced and retired just 1 more batter than Sanchez, allowing the same amount of earned runs – both of his coming in the first inning. Cincinnati would eventually win in extra innings, with neither starter factoring into the final decision.

Philadelphia Phillies starter Cristopher Sanchez pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 6, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius)

Game 3

Wednesday will be the final start of the season, for now, for Spencer Turnbull (2-0, 1.23 ERA). He will pitch against Nick Lodolo (2-0, 0.75 ERA). Turnbull got a chance against Cinicnnati the first time around, and was solid in his first start of the season, going 5 innings, allowing 1 run (unearned) and striking out 7. With Taijuan Walker set to return from the injured list this weekend, the Phillies may let Turnbull go as long as he can before moving him to the bullpen for the foreseeable future.

Lodolo didn’t get his first start of the year until April 13, but has looked very strong in his 2 starts. He only allowed 1 hit and struck out 10 over 5.2 innings his first appearance against the White Sox before going 6.1 of 1 run ball in a victory against the Angels. In 4 starts against Philly in his career, he has posted strong numbers. The 6-foot-6 left-hander has thrown 24.1 innings to the tune of a 2.22 ERA and striking out 31 Phillies in his career.

Game 4

Finally, Thursday is slated to see Zack Wheeler (1-2, 2.30 ERA) toe the rubber against Graham Ashcraft (3-1, 5.24 ERA) in a day game. Wheeler went 6 strong against the Reds earlier this year, allowing just 1 run, but still took the loss. He has gone 6+ in 4 of his 5 starts this year, including taking a no-hit bbid into the 8th innings his last time out. Ashcraft is likely thanking the heavens that Bryce Harper likely won’t be available, as he was placed on the paternity list today.

Wheeler Phillies News
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler walks off the field after being pulled during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Reds pitcher allowed 3 runs (2 earned) over 6 innings when facing Philly a few weeks ago, and both earned runs came on Bryce Harper solo shots. Harper would go on to hit a third in the game, and the Phillies would beat Ashcraft in their only win of that series, and his only loss of the season. However, 2 of his wins came in outings where he allowed 5 earned runs each – hence the ERA. In a start against Philadelphia last year, he went 6 innings and allowed no runs, so he can handle his own against them – especially with Harper not playing.

Offensive notes

For the Reds, they have been a team of sweeps recently, but in a different way than the Phillies. Their last three series are as follows: swept the White Sox, got swept by the Mariners, swept the Angels. Elly De La Cruz has reached base in 19 of Cincinnati’s 21 games this year. In total, he has 4 doubles, a triple, 6 home runs, and 15 RBIs. Tyler Stephenson has been especially hot as of late, going 7-for-32 with 2 doubles, 3 homers, and 9 RBIs over his last 10 contests.

Trea Turner is red hot right now as he is in the midst of a 10 game hot streak. He leads the Phillies with a .348 batting average, and has performed particularly well against game 1 starter Hunter Greene. In 9 at-bats against him, Turner has a home run and is hitting .556 and 1.445 OPS. 

There was a lot to be said about Johan Rojas and his slow start (he was hitting .045 through April 6), but since then he is 13-for-31 (.419), going 7-for-11 in the last series and recording a stolen base in 4 straight games. His average has risen over 100 points and now sits at .264 on the season.

Congratulations are due to Bryce Harper and his family, but he will surely be missed in the lineup as he had finally started to heat up. The former MVP has a 6 game hitting streak, going 8-21 (.381) over the last week with 6 RBIs and 4 runs scored.

Harper Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper falls into the dugout as he gives chase for a foul ball during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)


Cincinnati got Philadelphia earlier in the year and are not intimated by the hot streak the Phillies are on. Their offense can score with anyone (112 runs scored) and their pitching staff has only allowed 5 more runs that Philly’s despite the torrid run Philly is on. If Philadelphia continues to hit the way they have over the last week, even without Bryce Harper, there is no reason to feel they can’t avoid losing a series for the sixth straight time.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum