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The Philadelphia Phillies have stayed near the top of the National League standings halfway through the season thanks in large part to their strong play at Citizens Bank Park.
They’ll close out their first-half home slate this week with two games against the Baltimore Orioles. Right-handers Zach Eflin and Alex Cobb will face off Tuesday night.
The Phillies enter the series at 45-37 and are 28-16 at home. The team had an off-day Monday after taking three of four against the Washington Nationals [url=http://www.authenticsminnesotavikings.com/cheap-mike-remmers-jersey]Mike Remmers Color Rush Jersey[/url] , and the Phillies won Sunday in 13 innings with a walk-off homer from catcher Andrew Knapp.
“A win like that, especially against Washington, is huge for our season right now,” Knapp told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It shows we’re here to stay. A lot of games left and we’ve got to keep playing well, but we’re up there with a lot of those teams.”
The Phillies have won 13 of their last 20 games and are firmly in second place in the National League East less than two weeks before the All-Star break. They’ll try to pad their win total against the Orioles (24-59), who have the worst record in baseball.
Eflin (6-2, 3.02 ERA) will be making his first start of July after a stellar month of June for the Phillies. The 24-year-old went 5-0 with a 1.76 ERA and 0.978 WHIP in five starts last month.
Eflin had one of the most impressive starts of his three-year major league career in his last outing. He threw seven scoreless innings against the New York Yankees, giving up only four hits while striking out six batters.
“Eflin was just outstanding,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters about Eflin after his last start. “…He certainly wasn’t rattled by anything. When he had base runners on, it’s almost like he got calmer. He did a really good job of controlling the running game and controlling his fastball. His working north-south better than he has before. And in June [url=http://www.authenticsnewenglandpatriots.com/cheap-danny-shelton-jersey]Danny Shelton Color Rush Jersey[/url] , he was dominant the whole month against some of baseball’s best teams.”
Eflin has never faced Baltimore in 32 career starts. Cobb (2-9, 6.75) will also be making his first appearance against the Phillies in his seven-year major league career.
The Orioles are 3-11 in Cobb’s 14 starts in 2018, including a loss to the Seattle Mariners last Wednesday. Cobb allowed five runs on eight hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings in that start. It was the seventh time this season he’s surrendered at least five earned runs in a game.
“The inconsistency on my end, really never dealt with it before,” Cobb told mlb.com after the game. “But it’s really unacceptable to keep going out there and having a good game, and a game where you don’t give much of an opportunity for your team to win.”
The Phillies are 1-0 against the Orioles this season. They won a game in Baltimore on May 16 and will play another game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 12 to make up a rained-out contest.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two teams that began heading in opposite directions at just about the time they saw each other last month hook up again when the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics open a two-game interleague series Tuesday night.
The Padres were within arm’s length of .500 at 34-40, having won nine of 15, when the A’s ventured into San Diego and used a ninth-inning, two-out [url=http://www.authenticsnewenglandpatriots.com/cheap-jason-mccourty-jersey]Jason McCourty Color Rush Jersey[/url] , two-strike, game-tying home run from Stephen Piscotty off relief ace Brad Hand to trigger a two-game sweep, winning 4-2 and 12-4.
The Padres now head north well out of contention in the National League West, having lost 11 of 14.
The A’s, meanwhile, have won 12 of 15 to surge well above .500 at 46-39 and into contention in the American League wild-card race.
Oakland has made much of its recent run without standout third baseman Matt Chapman, who has taken time off to allow pain in his right hand to subside.
Two cortisone shots later, Chapman had a pain-free hitting session Sunday and was sent to Class A for an injury-rehab game Monday.
It’s possible he could be reinstated from the disabled list during this series.
“He hit a few off the back wall in center field, so that tells me enough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin observed Sunday. “Getting him back in the lineup will be a nice little kick for us.”
The A’s need no such boost in their pitching. They have allowed two or fewer runs in four of their last five games.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-3 [url=http://www.authenticsnewenglandpatriots.com/cheap-trent-brown-jersey]Trent Brown Color Rush Jersey[/url] , 2.82 ERA) will look to extend that impressive run while at the same time taste his first career success in interleague play.
The 29-year-old began the A’s recent pitching showcase with six innings of two-hit, scoreless ball in a 3-0 win at Detroit last Wednesday.
He has never faced the Padres in his career, and has lost both interleague starts despite a 2.45 ERA.
One intriguing potential matchup in the series is A’s closer Blake Treinen against Padres slugger Eric Hosmer, a pairing that carried a bit of history into a game-ending showdown in the A’s earlier 4-2 win in San Diego.
Then a member of the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer bombed a two-run, go-ahead homer off Treinen in the eighth inning of their first career head-to-head last August.
Treinen then extracted a measure of revenge in the June 19 rematch in San Diego, closing out the 10-inning game by striking out Hosmer as he represented the potential tying run.
Bassitt will be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29), who had a four-game winning streak stopped in a 5-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.
He retains a good interleague record (9-5, 3.50) despite not having beaten an American League opponent since 2015.
You have to go back three years before that to find his last appearance against the A’s in Oakland [url=http://www.thebroncosfootballauthentic.com/royce-freeman-jersey-authentic]Youth Royce Freeman Jersey[/url] , but it was a memorable one. He shut out a playoff-bound A’s team for 7 2/3 innings in 2012, allowing five hits in a 2-1 win.
He has faced the A’s three times in his career, twice as a starter, and gone 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
One A’s hitter that Richard will have to deal with is the aforementioned Piscotty, who played last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Piscotty has dominated the head-to-heads, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a flyout to deep center field in the only non-hit of the matchup.
A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy, another former National Leaguer, also has a successful history against Richard, going 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles and a homer.
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