The Phillies: Well, that was terrible. Nobody likes losing to the Cardinals, but having dropped three of four to St. Louis and having to sit through Mike Matheny's clockwork challenging strategies was naturally demoralizing. Hopefully it will take more than a terrible series loss to sap this team of the energy level that makes them so fun to watch.
The Marlins: Miami is about where the Phillies felt like they were last week; currently streaking, just off a sweep, everything is breaking their way. What a delightful surprise they are. Mmm. Winners of 10 of their last 11, this team is far more of a threat in another team's empty stadium (10-5 on the road) than their own (5-7 at home).
Look, what do you want me to say to you. "Heavy" is a gross misclassification of this team's most potent offensive weapons. Maikel Franco is slumping, Ryan Howard can't homer every night, and the rest of this crew, well.
The Nos. 5-9 hitters in the #Phillies lineup tonight are hitting a combined .205 with 84 strikeouts.— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) May 6, 2016
Freddy Galvis is hitting in the fifth spot tonight, so get ready for whatever that's gonna do. The last plan to boost the offense was to put Darin Ruf in the outfield, so this is what it looks like when that plan has a backup plan.
Odubel Herrera: He's hitting .316. It's easily the best BA on the team. Nobody's touching his .886 OPS either.
Carlos Ruiz: Chooch has comparable numbers (.311 BA, .958 OPS) to Herrera, which is always great, but he's amassed them in less than half the number of ABs.
Giancarlo Stanton: Look at this power-hungry psycho with his nine home runs and .609 SLG in 92 AB.
J.T. Realmuto: The catcher inherited the lead-off spot from the suspended Dee Gordon, and logged a hit in nine straight games, including six multi-hit appearances, five doubles, and a home run. At one point he doubled four nights in a row. His last game saw him go 0-for-4 with 2 SO, so maybe he's finally shutting up.
Christian Yelich: He's homered twice in the last three games, driving in five runs during the Marlins' unheard of sweep of the Diamondbacks.
Vince Velasquez vs. Wei-Yin Chen
NL leaders, opponents batting avg:— Corey Seidman (@CoreySeidmanCSN) May 4, 2016
1. Arrieta — .142
2. Vince Velasquez — .164
3. Matt Wisler — .175
4. Aaron Nola — .176
5. Kershaw — .182
After five starts, Velasquez has 11.2 SO/9 and 3.90 SO/BB to throw at the Marlins. He might be the closest thing the Phillies have to a stopper. Other than his teammate who also appears in the NL's top five pitchers in opponents BA.
And Chen is a lefty, so you know what that means - that's right, another episode of Darin Ruf: Clean-up Hitter! Wooo! You're welcome, Wei-Yin Chen. Somehow your 4.26 ERA and low strikeout total through five starts will probably be enough to hold the Phillies offense hitless through five or six innings.
Jeremy Hellickson vs. Tom Koehler
Hellickson came out and helped deliver the Nationals their first shut-out loss of the season. Then he came out and helped the Cardinals hit three home runs and score six times on seven hits and four walks. Jeremy Hellickson is starting to feel like a perennial bounce-back candidate before any given start.
Koehler may be one of the most beatable pitchers the Phillies have faced this year. Through five starts, his ERA is still at 7.25, and he was bounced from his start before the end of the third inning, having allowed eight runs and eight hits to the Brewers. Two weeks prior, he couldn't get out of the fourth inning against the damn Braves, who battered him with six runs and nine hits.
Aaron Nola vs. Justin Nicolino
Us. Beyond the Box Score. Fangraphs. Everybody is catching Aaron Nola Fever. Nola's numbers (9.9 SO/9, 1.6 BB/9) are so dynamite, the only other hurlers in his league are Drew Smyly and Clayton Kershaw. AARON NOLA.
Sliding into Jarred Cosart's spot in the rotation, Nicolino beat the Dodgers and Diamondbacks in his last two starts, through which he allowed five walks but only struck out two. The Phillies will be facing more of the raw underbelly of Miami's rotation, rather than the sharper, more protective bits, and should they be able to summon more than one inning's worth of offense, they could likely stay with the hot Fish. But we both know that doesn't feel likely.
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