Phillies - Yankees Series Preview: Making Up Ground?
This weekend, Philadelphia tries to capture the momentum of two straight walk off wins with a two-game set against the Bronx Bombers. In the division, Philly currently sits 4 games behind the Mets, who finish up a three-game battle with the Padres today and tomorrow.
Game 1: Vince Velasquez vs. Jameson Taillon
Vince Velasquez looked like he was putting it together for a period of time there, but fell back down to earth in his last start, allowing 3 runs in 4 innings. Taillon, New York’s starter is uhhhh, shaky at best. Through his first 11 starts this year, he has an ERA over 5 and a WHIP over 1.2. His home run rates are also high, so the Phillies bats have a good opportunity to keep rolling in this one
Game 2: Aaron Nola vs. Domingo German
Aaron Nola is truly struggling right now. He had maybe the best season of his career in 2020, he has an ERA over 4 on the year, and that number is 5.02 since the beginning of May. On the other side, German is a mostly good pitcher. He didn’t pitch in 2020 but over his last two years his ERA+ is 117, his WHIP is just over 1.1, and he’s allowed 85 earned runs in his last 203.2 innings pitched. He isn’t some elite pitcher, but he’s nothing to laugh at. But recently, he has struggled with getting deep into games, never getting into the sixth inning over his past 3 starts.
No one knows what to expect from Velasquez and this version of Nola, but their past performance makes me comfortable enough to say Philadelphia doesn’t sit at a clear disadvantage in the pitching department.
For the Yankees, they have a great top of their lineup featuring a star hitter in Aaron Judge. Their last 10 games have been especially strong, averaging 4.4 runs per game and having a team OPS of .771, which would rank second in the league overall. Both teams have worked to limit strikeouts. Over the past three games, the Philles and Yankees are second and third best across the entire MLB in K's per game.
For Philly, they’ve found a stride as their two stars return. Bryce Harper returned on June 5th, and the Phillies are 4-1 since then. JT Realmuto in that timeframe is hitting .313 to go along with 2 home runs and 11 total bases. Jean Segura, the hero of the Phillies last game, is hitting .355 (!) with more walks than strikeouts in his past 8.
The Yankees, like the Phillies, have struggled this year and sit near .500. Their lineup can be dangerous, but the Phillies likely have the advantage on the mound. If their stars can continue to play well and the offense can avoid strikeouts, Philadelphia has a recipe to make up some ground in the division.