After losing two out of three at home vs. the Reds and getting swept in embarrassing form to the MLB's worst team this year the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies now travel to San Diego to take on the Padres. The offense not producing hits in general especially with runners in scoring position, starting pitching not commanding there pitches and allowing too much hard contact, the bullpen not carrying there weight as well, and the defense being horrid has been the theme of these past two series and has allowed the red hot Atlanta Braves to jump out to a four game lead in the NL East. This Phillies team has to start taking care of business in these winnable games and it has to start tonight in San Diego vs the Padres.
Luckily for the Phillies, this Padres team hasn't been the same Padres team we saw earlier in the season and nothing close of what we expect them to be. Losers of three straight and seven out of there last ten ballgames the Padres have seen their lead for that second wild card spot fall to only one game over the Reds. They too are coming off getting swept by a bad NL West team in the Colorado Rockies and are hoping to use the Phillies to turn themselves around and grow their lead in the wild card chase again. Expect both teams to play extremely aggressive in these three games and to take chances early. The Phillies pitching needs to be able to buckle down and slow down this talented Padres lineup that's capable of getting hot in a split second.
Pitching these three games for the Phils are Matt Moore, Aaron Nola, and Kyle Gibson. Moore and Nola who have struggled this year mightily are the two biggest keys to the series. Whether in Moore's case building off a terrific start last time out vs. the Reds or Nola's case limiting damage with two outs and quitting being breaking ball happy behind in counts, both of these guys need to make the adjustment and come out sharp in these games. The offense on the other hand needs to wake up. Fourteen hits in three games vs. the worst team in baseball is unacceptable and as much as the pitching should be the story heading into this series, if the offense doesn't produce soon nothing else will end up mattering all that much.
From what we have learned this season the Phillies play better when their backs are behind the wall and times get desperate. When adversity hits, the Phillies have shown over the course of this year that they will respond and play good baseball. They have the talent to go into San Diego and win this series and there track record this year says that as well winning the first series vs. them in Citizens Bank Park. Let's hope that this team bounces back in this series and the Phillies can make up some ground in the NL East. First pitch tonight is at 10:10 pm EST with Matt Moore getting the ball in game one vs. Blake Snell let's go Phils!