SB Nation Blog
The Opponent in one sentence
The Phillies came into the year as one of the National League favorites but while they are still firmly in the playoff picture they have been one of the NL’s most disappointing teams.
Red Sox 0, Phillies 0
Up...ish? It’s been a strange run for the Phillies, and their trend depends on how far back you want to go. They have lost their two games against the Padres, but then before that they had won four in a row including a three-game sweep against the Cubs. Of course, if you want to go further back than that, they had lost six of their previous eight. They can’t figure out what they are.
8/20: TBD vs. Aaron Nola, 7:10 PM ET
The Red Sox have some major questions with their rotation right now with Sale out for the rest of the year and David Price still on the injured list. Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriguez are really their only real stretched out starters at the moment, at least assuming they are going to keep Andrew Cashner in the bullpen. As such, we’ll likely be seeing a lot of bullpen games in our future, including on Tuesday. My guess is Brian Johnson will get the start, but likely only to go three innings or so.
Nola finished third in Cy Young voting last season and was certainly a relatively safe bet to be right back in the thick of that race again in 2019. Unfortunately he got off to a bit of a slow start this season and his numbers don’t really look Cy Young worthy. Over 26 starts the righty has pitched to a 3.56 ERA, a 4.08 FIP and a 3.40 DRA. His strikeouts are up compared to last season, but he’s also walking more batters and allowing more homers. All of that said, Nola is still well above average in all of those areas and he’s been elite over his last ten starts with a 2.20 ERA in that span. The 26-year-old will throw a fastball that sits around 93 mph, a curveball, a changeup and a slider.
8/21: Rick Porcello vs. Drew Smyly, 7:10 PM ET
There’s a whole lot riding on Porcello’s shoulders all of a sudden if the Red Sox are to make a miracle run back into the postseason picture. As I said above, the rotation doesn’t really have a lot of options right now and he is one of two guys that is ready for a true starter’s workload. Hopefully Price will be back in that picture soon, to be fair, but that’s no guarantee. Porcello simply hasn’t gotten the job done for the majority of this season, but he’s allowed just one run over six innings in two of his last three starts. This would be a hell of a time to go on a big run, but the Phillies will be a big test.
Earlier in the decade Smyly looked like a really intriguing young arm coming up with the Tigers. He eventually made his way to Tampa, but he has just never been able to stay healthy. The southpaw has largely bounced around since then, trying to stick somewhere and stick in a rotation. He signed with the Phillies about a month ago after being cut by the Rangers, but he has not looked good. In 80 innings between Texas and Philadelphia this year Smyly has pitched to a 7.09 ERA, a 6.91 FIP and an 8.54 DRA. He’ll miss some bats, but the command has been nowhere to be found for basically the entire season. Smyly will feature a low-90s fastball, a curveball and a cutter.
Gabe Kapler was, of course, part of the 2004 Red Sox team (and a few others on either side of that year). He’s been at the helm of the Phillies for a couple of years now and has had some high highs and low lows.
Notable Position Players
Bryce Harper is the focus of this Phillies offense at all times after signing that monster contract this past winter. He’s been disappointing overall in his first season in Philly, but he’s also been perhaps the clutchest (most clutch?) player in all of baseball this year.
Rhys Hoskins is not going to look good if you focus on batting average, but he has massive power and draws a ton of walks at the top of the Phillies lineup.
J.T. Realmuto was another major acquisition this past winter and he’s a phenomenal defensive catcher who is also an above-average bat. That’s a rare combination in today’s game.
Jean Segura is going to put the ball in play almost every time at the plate and will often turn them into singles, though he’s had trouble doing more damage than that in 2019.
Corey Dickerson hasn’t played much for the Phillies since coming over from Pittsburgh at the deadline, but he will hit for power while also striking out a bunch.
César Hernández is having a down year but is something of an underrated player at his best. There’s not a whole lot of power here but he can get on base at a high clip.
Scott Kingery is starting to show some of the promise that was hinted at prior to last season. He’s another guy who masks a high strikeout rate with his power.
Adam Haseley has been up and down this year, both in terms of performance and the level at which he’s played.
Héctor Neris is the top reliever for a Phillies team that has seen a ton of injuries in their bullpen. He’ll lose his command here and there but has the stuff to be a dominant force when he’s on.
Mike Morin and Blake Parker are serving in high-leverage roles for the Phillies despite being relative newcomers to the team.
José Álvarez is the top lefty in the Phillies bullpen and has succeeded in terms of ERA this year thanks more to weak contact than big stuff.
Andrew McCutchen went down with a torn ACL back in June and is out for the entire season.
Jake Arrieta has been out for much of the year with an elbow injury and just underwent season-ending surgery.
David Robertson underwent Tommy John surgery in the last week and is going to miss this entire season and possibly all of 2020.
Seranthony Domínguez is out with a slight UCL tear but he’s still hoping to make it back to the bullpen before the end of the year.
Edubray Ramos is yet another Phillies reliever who could be out all year.
Odúbel Herrera is serving an 85-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. He’s also ineligible for the postseason should the Phillies make it that far.
Roman Quinn is out with groin tightness. His timetable is unknown.
Jay Bruce had just returned from the IL before going down again with a left flexor strain.
Victor Arano underwent elbow surgery in early June. It wasn’t supposed to end his season, but there haven’t been any updates since then.
Tommy Hunter underwent season-ending hip surgery in July.
Adam Morgan is dealing with an elbow injury and they are still trying to figure out if it will keep him out all year.
Pat Neshek went down in June with a hamstring injury and is still hoping to be back at some point next month.
Jerad Eickhoff has been out since July with a biceps injury but is currently on a rehab assignment.
Tuesday’s game should be able to be played without issue. On Wednesday, however, there are thunderstorms in the area. Hopefully they will be earlier in the day and/or later at night, but there’s a chance we have a delay or two for this one.