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Phillies hoping four-game series goes better than last one, which was terrible

Here's hoping Pete Mackanin screamed enough gusto into the Phillies for them to beat a 4th place team.

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The Phillies: When's the last time you looked up and saw the Philies weren't down by eight or nine runs? It wasn't last night when the Blue Jays and Phillies didn't really end their four-game set; Toronto just decided it was finished with them and snuffed them out like a cat with its kill. Pete Mackanin excused himself and his team, locked the doors, and screamed at everybody. Historically, this will lead to players saying the speech was "effective" and "they've got to do better." Then, they'll go out and lose by about eight or nine runs.

The Diamondbacks: You want to be encouraged that this fourth place team has lost seven of it last ten road games. But then you remember the Phillies are a fifth place team that has lost 20 of their last 26 games, period. And then you start to laugh that laugh that chills your mother's bones.

Heavy Hitters

Jean Segura: The man who is for some reason not known as Segura Genesis has eleven hits in the past week. He's the only Arizona starter hitting over .300 for the year. Oh, and don't worry - he's really turned back into a threat defensively, too.

Paul Goldschmidt: With the dark arts taking stabs at him at every turn - he hit Kenta Maeda with a line drive, a fan interference call overturned a recent home run call - Goldschmidt is still hitting .355 over the last month with 6 2B and 4 HR.

The D-Backs Rotation: What? Why have Zack Greinke, Patrick Corbin, and Robbie Ray gone a combined 13-for-33 in the last 30 days? I guess it's good only two of those hits were for extra bases. Wait, no it isn't. How many of these offensive titans will the Phillies face in this four-game series? At least two of them? And Adam Morgan is scheduled to pitch? Congratulations on your inevitable bases-clearing triple, someone on the Diamondbacks pitching staff.

Cody Asche: I certainly don't recall a ton of hitting during that Blue Jays series, but the brief blips of Phillies reaching base I can find in my scrambled brain are all of Cody Asche, who on one night realized if he was going to beat the Blue Jays, he'd have to take on their entire offense himself. I know you got here late, Cody, but you're catching on quick.

Peter Bourjos: Christ, this guy? This guy was one of the more reliable hitters in the past week with six hits, including two doubles and a triple? This guy. Great.

Probable Pitchers

Robbie Ray vs. Adam Morgan, 7:05 pm

Well everybody was simply dazzled by Ray the last time he pitched, going a career high 7.2 innings of a three-hit shutout over the Marlins in which no Miami runners reached second base. The Diamondbacks are using it as a sign of hope, since Ray hadn't lasted longer than six innings in his last four starts. His fix was to start taking a deep breath before each pitch, which has to be against the rules somehow. And if it's not, can somebody please teach the Phillies' pitchers how to breathe?

But before you start explaining that if they hadn't been breathing this whole time they would be dead, let's point out that someone else also hit a career high in their last start.

That's right, it was Adam Morgan. Yes it was. You literally can't say it wasn't.

I know I insinuated that one good start was probably not enough to consider Ray having turned things around, but I think in Morgan's case it unarguably does mean that.

Zack Greinke vs. Jerad Eickhoff, 3:05 pm

The Diamondbacks have won 10 of Greinke's last 12 starts. He's allowed two earned runs total in his last three appearances, throwing a combined 23 innings and allowing four walks. That is pitching at a high enough level to beat the Phillies. But he can bat flip whenever he wants against them, because Odubel Herrera will out-bat flip him from the on deck circle if he has to. Or probably even if he doesn't.

Man, Eickhoff threw six shutout innings in his last start. Why have the Phillies been losing so much? He's got that slider he's becoming fond of, too; his usage of it has leaped from under 10% of his pitches to over 25%. Can the Diamondbacks hit sliders? They don't seem like a team that can hit sliders.

Archie Bradley vs. Zach Eflin, 1:35 pm

Bradley has a weakness, and it's "late home runs."

The part about getting no-hit early in the game should be no problem for this Phillies lineup; the issue will be starting to hit as Bradley gets gassed later in the game. I'm not sure the Phillies are aware they are allowed to start hitting. I'm not sure they know it's a part of the sport.

Eflin, after last time, is probably just going to be happy to be out there and start with that.

TBD vs. Jeremy Hellickson, 1:35 pm

You know, say what you will about the Phillies pitching staff--

[You open your mouth; a deafening moan is emitted through a swarm of monstrous wasps]

Good god, okay, stop saying what you will. Say nothing. Please. Thank you.

I was going to say, the Phillies pitching staff has its flaws, but at least they bother to show up. I don't know of too many times that the Phillies have listed "TBD" as their projected starter this season, and I'm the guy who writes the series previews, basically making me an expert on the subject. So at least Hellickson and the gang consistently show up. Except for Charlie Morton. Where the hell did he go, anyway? Lazy.

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