The Philadelphia Phillies look to replicate their recent visit to Los Angeles as they welcome the Dodgers to Citizens Bank Park for the first time this season.
Philadelphia enters Friday's game on the tail of a 1-2 series loss to the San Diego Padres, which all but showed how pivotal Bryce Harper, sidelined following his PRP injection on Sunday, is to the lineup.
The two losses against the Padres set Philadelphia's mission of catching up in the NL East off track, trailing the New York Mets by seven games.
The Dodgers fly West from Arizona, where they pulled off a convincing four-game sweep of the Diamondbacks, outscoring them 29-16, which helped raise their lead in the NL West to 1.5 over the Padres.
Let's take a look at the pitching match-ups for this series:
Phillies starter: Ranger Suarez (4-1, 3.72)
Dodgers starter: Julio Urias (2-3, 3.00)
Ranger Suarez opens the series for the Phillies; in his previous start against the Dodgers, he pitched seven innings, while allowing three runs and striking out six batters. Los Angeles hasn't been an issue for Suarez thus far, as he holds a 3-1 record against them going into Friday's game.
Julio Urias will look to bounce back from his previous start against Philadelphia, when they took him deep four times, driving in five runs. Urias' last three starts have been a bit rocky for him, allowing 19 hits, seven runs, while only striking out seven batters across 12 innings.
First Pitch: Friday, 7:05 p.m. EST
Phillies starter: Aaron Nola (1-4, 3.64)
Dodgers starter: TBD
Aaron Nola's last outing was against the Dodgers, when he pitched seven innings, allowing four hits, and two runs while fanning eight batters. The story of Nola's season so far has been his solid performances on the mound, only to have them wasted by the offense's failure to support him with runs, resulting in a loss or no decision. This has led to 1-4 record, despite being the Phillies' best pitcher on paper, with a 10.9 SO/9 and an 0.98 WHIP.
The Dodgers haven't announced who they're sending out to the mound on Saturday, the likes of Walker Buehler and Tyler Anderson can't be left out of the question as both will be on multiple days' rest from their starts against Arizona. One Dodger who can be ruled out is Clayton Kershaw, who is on the 15-day IL following a joint injury.
First Pitch: Saturday, 6:05 p.m. EST
Phillies starter: Zach Eflin (1-3, 3.90)
Dodgers starter: Tony Gonsolin (4-0, 1.64)
Eflin will close out the series for Philadelphia on Sunday, a start in which he looks to continue what he started in his solid performance against the Padres. In his first outing since being removed from the COVID-19 IL, Eflin allowed five hits and one run while striking out five batters, tied for a season-high. The Dodgers have always been a struggle for Eflin, going 0-3 against them with an 8.78 ERA, the second-highest among other teams.
Gonsolin will take to the mound on Sunday with the goal of extending his three-game win streak. Gonsolin has been on fire, only allowing seven hits, three runs, and 17 strikeouts while maintaining a 1.69 ERA.
First Pitch: Sunday, 1:35 p.m. EST
Players to Watch:
Although not doing so hot during his two recent games, Segura has been on a tear in the month of May, slashing .323/.382/.645 with three home runs and seven RBI. During the series in Los Angeles, Segura really turned on the jets, hitting .385/.385/.692, which are all above his career averages against the Dodgers. Segura staying hot will help fill the void left when Harper isn't in the Phillies lineup.
Despite having a solid start to the year, Freeman was held to an uncharacteristically low .143/.368/.143 slash line against the Phillies last week at home. If Philadelphia wants to increase their chance of pulling off another series win against Los Angeles, holding "Phillie killer" Freeman back as they previously did will increase their likelihood of doing so.
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