The Phillies begin their final trip west with a three-game game in Arizona starting tonight. The Phils enter the day 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves in the Eastern NL.
With 44 games left in the regular season, every game from here to the end matters. Luckily for the Phils, seven of their next 12 games are against the Diamondbacks, who have the worst record in baseball at 38-81.
The Phillies were favored last week to win the division by FanGraphs, in part thanks to an eight-game winning streak and a weak schedule for the remainder of the season. That changed last weekend when the club lost two of three to the Reds. The Braves now have a 53% expectation of winning the division through FanGraphs, while the Phillies are only 40%.
“The Braves are going to keep going, keep playing well, and so will the Mets,” said Bryce Harper after Sunday’s series final loss to the Reds. “We just have to keep winning games, doing our thing, no matter what all the other teams are doing, we have to win games. Of course you need a little help here and there, but we have to deal with serial business.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson will start the series opener for the Phils. He is 2-1 with a 4.76 ERA since joining the club on the trade deadline. Ranger Suarez and Zack Wheeler round out the Phils’ rotation in Phoenix. The D-backs, meanwhile, have not announced their pitching plans for the series.
Did you hear?
Diamondbacks rookie Tyler Gilbert joined one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs on Saturday, throwing a draw in his first career MLB start – just the fourth player in league history to do so and the first since Bobo Holloman in 1953. Gilbert was a Southern California sixth round pick by the Phillies in 2015. He was traded to the Dodgers in February 2020 and was snatched from their organization by the D-backs in December during the Rule-5 draft.
Rhys Hoskins is eligible to drop off the injured list tonight, but it looks like he won’t be ready until later in the week. He suffers from a strained left groin which he suffered at the end of July.