With only 50 games left in the season and a four-game deficit in the division, the Dodgers start a stretch of 22 games in 23 days Tuesday. The first leg of that gauntlet takes them east to face the Phillies, suddenly a hot team with eight straight wins under their belt.
Hanging just under the .500 mark most of the year, the Phillies streak has taken them from third place and 4.5 games behind the Mets, to a 2.0-game lead atop the NL East in just over a week.
Philadelphia hasn’t exactly been a place for the Dodgers to pile up wins over the last several years, having lost the last seven of 11 games at Citizens Bank Park and are just 12-11 since the start of 2013.
The good news for the Dodgers is they have Max Scherzer on the mound to start the trip and he is 3-0 on the road in Philly this season. The 37-year-old has limited the Phillies to just one run and gone at least six innings in each of the three starts, totaling 22 strikeouts in 19.2 IP.
Interestingly enough, the heavyweight on the Phillies side this season has been Scherzer’s former teammate, Bryce Harper. The outfielder is slashing .302/.413/.570 this season and an even more impressive .370/.516/.740 in 23 games since the All-Star break.
Despite a 96 wRC+ (16th in MLB) on the season as a team, the Phillies 110 wRC+ in the second half ties them for seventh best in baseball. Philly has scored nearly five runs a game over the last four weeks but they can only go as far as their pitching will allow. They’ve allowed 4.67 runs per game, the same amount they’ve averaged all year.
The running joke has been the Dodgers being back with everybody healthy and that was further dashed this week with Mookie Betts experiencing more hip discomfort and Justin Turner leaving Sunday with a left groin injury.
But with the addition of Trea Turner, Corey Seager’s return and Cody Bellinger looking like he might be turning a corner at the plate, the Dodgers could easily feast on Phillie pitching in this series.
Bellinger has quietly put together a six-game hitting streak, going 7-for-22 (.318) and has hit homers in back-to-back games for the first time since late June.
- Tuesday, 4:05 p.m. PT (SportsNet LA): Max Scherzer vs. Aaron Nola
- Wednesday, 4:05 p.m. (SportsNet LA, ESPN): David Price vs. Kyle Gibson
- Thursday, 10:05 a.m. (SportsNet LA): TBD vs. TBD