Phillies-Dodgers Series Preview: 4 Keys for Phillies
After taking 2 out of 3 from the Mariners, the Phillies will take a trip south to Los Angeles, as they are set for a 4 game series vs the Dodgers.
The Phillies (14-17) currently sit in 4th place in the NL East, while the Dodgers (20-9) have sole possession of 1st place in the NL West, along with the best record in the National League.
Phils After Dark will be in full effect for this series. The first 3 games will have first pitch at 10:10pm EST, topped off with a late afternoon start Sunday at 4:10pm EST.
- Game 1: Zach Wheeler (1-3, 4.10) vs Tyler Anderson (3-0, 2.78)
- Game 2: Kyle Gibson (3-1, 2.94) vs Clayton Kershaw (4-0, 1.80)
- Game 3: Ranger Suarez (3-1, 3.68) vs Walker Buehler (4-1, 1.96)
- Game 4: Aaron Nola (1-4, 3.83) vs Julio Urias (2-2, 2.10)
Phillies bats > Dodger arms
Or at least we hope.
Firepower vs Firepower will be showcased in this series. Looking at the LAD probable starting pitchers, all 4 of them combine for a 2.16 ERA (Anderson, Kershaw, Buehler, Urias). Tyler Anderson, who is pitching game one tonight, currently has 3-0 record, 2.78 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, and a 8.7 K/9. The Dodgers have won Anderson's last two starts.
The other side of that coin is that the Dodgers have not faced an offense like the Phillies. The Phils come into this series with the National League's best slugging percentage, at .416%. They also rank top 3 in OPS and line drives.
Among qualified hitters, the Phillies have 6 players with an OPS+ greater than 100, that leads all teams in the National League.
Wheeler needs to set the tone
Pitching will be the biggest question mark for the Phillies in this series. There is no doubt about how great the Dodger lineup can be at times, but the Phillies staff has to be up for the challenge.
Wheeler will be on the hill for game one vs LA. He was phenomenal in his last start: 7.2 IP, 7 Ks, 1 BB, 0 ER. Need more of that ace behavior from Wheeler tonight.
Setting the tone to put a roadblock in the Dodger offense early on in the series could be a huge positive for the Phillies.
Please get Freddie Freeman out
This will be the Phillies first look at Freddie Freeman in his new threads. Maybe the notorious Phillies Killer will have his hot streak vs the Phillies end with his new team.
In Freeman's career, he is slashing .298/.398/.495 vs the Phillies with 30 home runs, 120 RBIs, and 124 runs, in 194 career games.
Win at least 2 games
A 2-2 series split would be a win for the Phillies, given each team's current situation. Finishing the road trip 4-3 will set up the Phillies nicely as they get ready for a 6 game home stand after this series.
The Braves are the only NL East team the Dodgers have faced this season and the Dodgers took 2 out of 3 vs the reigning world champs.
The losing end of a 4 game sweep would put a big wrench in the momentum heading into some crucial series against division competition... and the winning end of a 4 game sweep is just unrealistic.