The Phillies escaped Miami with one win in the three-game series (and they were lucky to get that). After (predictably) struggling against a last place team, they’ll head to Milwaukee to take on a first place team. That could be bad news for the Phillies, but then you remember that the Phillies went 4-0 in an earlier series against the Brewers, and very little ever seems to make sense about this team.
Record: 84-54 (First place in National League Central)
The last time they met
The Brewers visited Philadelphia during one of those times when it looked like the Phillies were starting to figure it out. (They weren’t.) The Phillies won all four games, and things were going so well at the time that even Brandon Kintzler earned a win.
Not representative of the season
That series aside, the Brewers have had an excellent season, and hold an eleven game lead in the National League Central. Now that a postseason berth is all but clinched, maybe they’ll have lost some intensity, and won’t take the pseudo-contender Phillies as seriously as they should.
Very interested to see what happens when the Phillies--whose playoff odds fluctuate based on how frequently they play the Nationals--meet a Brewers team that's spent the past month mowing a mile-wide swath of destruction across the Midwest.— Michael Baumann (@MichaelBaumann) September 6, 2021
On the other hand, it’s also possible that they’re filled with simmering rage over the earlier series and have been waiting months to get their revenge. Who really knows what goes on inside the heads of baseball players?
The good news is that Ryan Braun isn’t around anymore, since it felt like his sole purpose in life was to destroy Phillies pitching.
That’s a good rotation
The Phillies’ offense has been all sorts of inconsistent lately, but it would be understandable if this was one of those series where runs are tough to come by. The Brewers have an excellent pitching staff, and the Phillies will get to face starting pitchers Brandon Woodruff (2.35 ERA), Eric Lauer (3.43 ERA), and Freddy Peralta (2.70 ERA).
There are 25 pitchers in baseball with at least 120 innings and a sub 3.50 ERA.— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) September 6, 2021
The Brewers have four of them: Burnes, Woodruff, Peralta, Houser.
On the other hand, the Phillies often defy expectations, so it wouldn’t be that surprising if they went back to scoring seven runs every game.
Woodruff will square off against Zack Wheeler on Labor Day in what should be an excellent matchup. These two squared off earlier in the season, and the pitchers’ duel actually lived up to the billing. Woodruff was good, but Wheeler was great, throwing a three-hitter to carry the Phillies to victory.
Wheeler has probably cost himself any consideration for the Cy Young Award over the past few weeks, but another gem over Woodruff could possibly get him back in the conversation.
Least valuable player
The Phillies were rumored to be interested in signing Jackie Bradley Jr. this past offseason, and we should feel fortunate that they did not. Bradley may be good defensively in center field (and he’d just feel out of place being a good defender on this team), but he’s been awful with the bat. If you’re going to have an OPS of .525, you’d better be the best defender who ever lived. (He isn’t.)
Jackie Bradley Jr, just in the opposite way,— JKSCOTT_GOAT (@nlaw34003) September 5, 2021
Let’s hope Labor Day goes better for the Phillies than Mother’s Day (6-1 loss), Memorial Day (11-1 loss), Father’s Day (11-2 loss) and Independence Day (11-1 loss) did. Can anyone figure out a reason why the Phillies keep losing so horrifically on holidays?
For the previous series, I had incorrectly listed the 2012 Nationals who also played for the Phillies. The correct list is Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth, Brad Lidge, John Lannan, Roger Bernadina, and Wilson Ramos.
Last series’ answer: Nobody was able to remember that the only Phillie to ever have a multi-homer game at Marlins Park was....Cody Asche. (I’m surprised too!)
This series’ question: Name the three Phillies players who hit home runs in the final game of the 2008 NLDS at Miller Park.
What to expect
- There will be one game where Bryce Harper looks like the only competent hitter in the Phillies’ lineup....again. (And hopefully he can avoid bunting with a runner in scoring position.)
- Woodruff will get the better of Wheeler, and yet another holiday will be ruined.
- Aaron Nola will pitch well, and will shut down the “Nola is bad in September” narrative...for five days at least.
Closing thought that may or may not be relevant to the series
Despite it formerly being his home park, Jean Segura doesn’t have great lifetime numbers at Miller Park. It would be great if he could turn that around this week, and once again become a threat at the top of the lineup.