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Phillies punished for bad series loss with trip to Pittsburgh

Aw, do we HAVE to?

Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Phillies: Not even a closed-door meeting in which Pete Mackanin looked sternly around the room at everyone was enough to stimulate the Phillies offense, and now they head to PNC Park having dropped three of four to the Marlins (a series that ended with a hideous 9-3 loss Thursday night). What facial expression will Mackanin try next? 'Disgusted shock?' Sounds appropriate.

The Pirates: But, hey, at least the Pirates aren't doing so well either. There's been a lot of injuries, a lot of poor luck, a lot of having to contend with the Cubs and Cardinals all year (and they're still three games over .500). No mistake, though; they're still better than the Phillies.

Heavy Hitters

Starling Marte: The author of this little boy's face.

Jordy Mercer: He's 10-for-his-last-24. He's on a six-game hitting streak. He recently led off against a righty for the first time in his career. With Jordy Nelson missing the entirety of the last NFL season due to injury, he's probably the best Jordy in sports.

Adam Frazier: The Buccos may not have planned for Frazier to be a part of the equation this season, but in the 18 games he's played since being promoted from Triple-A, he's hitting .361 with four doubles and a triple. Also this. Also he walks up to Ginuwine's "Pony."

Carlos Ruiz: The "Chooch might get traded" narrative seemed to come out of nowhere, as 37-year-old catchers who have lost their starting gigs don't typically dominate the market. But maybe if he didn't have ten hits in his last eight games, or that precocious smile, he wouldn't be so darn appealing.

Tyler Goeddel: At this point, you can't say Goeddel isn't the secret to the Phillies success. When they have success, I mean. Which is never.

Tommy Joseph: The Phillies' 54-year-old rookie is back in a big way, averaging a dinger every 12.5 AB and combining with Ryan Howard - the Ryan Howard - for the second most home runs in baseball from the first base position with 27.

Probable Pitchers

Zach Eflin vs. Gerrit Cole, 7:05 p.m.

All right Zach, no pressure, but this team really doesn't have a "stopper" in the rotation anymore, so it looks like you're it. Don't worry, it's just Gerrit Cole, who only recently came back from a triceps strain on the 15-day DL. He got five-runned by the Nationals in his return, so the Phillies should be able to squeeze one run out of him. Or, maybe he used that Washington start to get re-calibrated and this offense will be helpless against him. Again, though; no pressure, Zach. Just need a win here. In a big way. Please.

Aaron Nola vs. TBA, 4:05 p.m.

Nola was struggling, got two weeks off, went bass fishing in Louisiana, came back after the All-Star Game, and threw six two-hit innings against the Marlins, allowing zero runs, one walk, and five strikeouts before handing the game over to the bullpen, who successfully blew it. No matter. We saw Good Aaron Nola for the first time in weeks, and he was facing a team that wasn't the Braves. That's the most encouraging news since the Phanatic's latest forced mating ritual.

Vince Velasquez vs. Jameson Taillon, 1:35 p.m.

Yeah, good luck with that, Pirates.

Wait. The home stand is over, isn't it.

I'm mad at myself.

Somehow, Taillon is okay and apparently scheduled to make his next start after a baseball moving 105 m.p.h. struck him in the head in his last start. He then stayed in the game and threw six innings of one-run ball. This was after he had returned from the 15-day DL with shoulder fatigue. This poor man can't get a break. Until now, I mean, when he gets to pitch against the Phillies. He's thrown 34 innings in six starts, accumulating a 3.44 ERA. That shuld probably go down this weekend. Unless Pete Mackanin can finally have a closed door meeting that actually gets his team to hit.

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