Phillies vs Tigers: Previewing a series in the Motor City

Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Castellanos runs after hitting a game-winning RBI-double against San Diego Padres pitcher Robert Suarez during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 18, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Flying high after their series victory over the National League Champion Arizona Diamondbacks, the Philadelphia Phillies travel to the Motor City for an interleague series against the Detroit Tigers. The Phillies (51-26) enter the series with a 7.0 game lead over the Atlanta Braves for the National League East and with the best record in Major League Baseball.

Potential All-Stars and Reunions on the Mound for the Phillies

The Phillies are slated to throw Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, and Spencer Turnbull against the Tigers. Nola and Suarez are potentially weeks away from earning appearances in the MLB All-Star Game.

Nola is coming off a quality start against the San Diego Padres, having pitched six innings of three-run baseball. Despite a recent start bloating his ERA to the fourth-highest in the rotation (fifth if you include Spencer Turnbull), Nola has pitched for a fantastic 2024 season and has pitched at least 6.0 innings in six of his last seven starts.

Phillies Nola
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola works against the Colorado Rockies in the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 25, 2024, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Suarez, meanwhile, owns the best ERA in all of baseball among qualifying pitchers at 1.75. His electric performance on the mound has put him in the front running for a potential start in the 2024 All-Star Game. Through the month of June, Sanchez has thrown for a 1.77 ERA and 2.60 FIP with 18 strikeouts over 20.1 innings of work.

Starting Wednesday will be Spencer Turnbull, who had spent the previous five seasons of his career with the Tigers. This start will mark Turnbull’s first return to Comerica Park since joining the Phillies. For Turnbull, this also marks his chance to earn his spot in the Phillies’ rotation as he makes a spot start for the injured Taijuan Walker.

A Look at the Tigers

The Tigers enter their series with the Phillies having won their first series in weeks against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. Sunday’s contest found them scoring 11 runs with six of those runs coming from the top three spots in their batting order: Matt Vierling, Colt Keith, and Riley Greene. Vierling, the former Phil, went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a triple while Kieth was a triple short of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI. Riley Greene, the team’s leader in home runs, hit his 15th of the season going 2-for-4 with one run scored and three RBI.

On the mound, the Tigers have announced Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal as starters for Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Mize owns a respectable 4.43 ERA on the season having made 14 starts for the Tigers. Across 69.0 innings of work, the five-pitch right-hander has only accrued 46 strikeouts with a 47.2% ground ball percentage on the season. Skubal, meanwhile, has been a strikeout machine for the Tigers. With a 2.50 ERA, he has struck out 105 batters across 90 frames while yielding a 0.97 WHIP.

Wednesday will likely be a bullpen day for the Tigers as they seek to give starter Jack Flaherty an extra day of rest.

Philadelphia Phillies’ David Dahl, right, celebrates after his two-run single during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, June 23, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Riding the Hot Bats

The Phillies will look to their sluggers to keep the heat up against the Tigers’ battery. Bryce Harper is 10-for-21 over the past week having hit three home runs and is currently sitting on an eight-game hitting streak. Harper also currently leads the National League with 2,037,523 All-Star votes.

Nick Castellanos and Trea Turner are also riding six-game streaks of their own. Castellanos in particular has been finding his swing as of late, going 9-for-19 over the past week. Returning to his former stomping grounds in Detroit, Castellanos will look to continue his recent performance against his first ball club.

Where to Watch

After a few days of bouncing around between streaming services, fans will be happy to know that all three games of the Tigers series will be broadcast as usual on NBC Sports Philadelphia. Monday and Tuesday have scheduled start times of 6:40 P.M. while Wednesday is a 1:10 P.M. matinee.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum