While the Philadelphia Phillies have halted their recent slide, the San Diego Padres continue to struggle.
Coming off a much-needed victory, the visiting Phillies will look to hand the Padres a season-high fifth straight defeat on Saturday night.
Both clubs are contending for a postseason spot in the National League, but neither team has looked like it of late.
However, Philadelphia received a two-run homer from Bryce Harper, then held on to snap a four-game skid with a 4-3 win in Friday night’s series opener.
It was just the third victory in 10 games for the Phillies.
“Go out there and finish strong,” pitcher Zack Wheeler told the Phillies’ official website. “Start playing some good baseball and just be consistent.”
San Diego, meanwhile, could not take enough advantage of 10 walks allowed by Philadelphia pitchers on Friday. Manny Machado hit a two-run homer for one of the four hits by the Padres, who stranded 12 runners while losing for the eighth time in nine games.
The Padres are batting .213 over that nine-game span, during which they’ve been held to three or fewer runs on six occasions.
“If you focus on the negatives, those will end up piling up,” outfielder Wil Myers told the Padres’ official website. “For us, we’re a team that can really go and get hot at any given point.”
Scheduled San Diego starter Joe Musgrove (8-8, 3.11 ERA) allowed four runs over 25 innings while going 3-0 in four starts before taking the mound last weekend against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In that outing, the right-hander gave up season highs of six earned runs and 10 hits over five innings while watching the Diamondbacks’ Tyler Gilbert no-hit the Padres in his first big-league start.
Musgrove, who pitched a no-hitter against Texas on April 9, is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in three career appearances (two starts) against the Phillies.
Harper has seven of his 23 home runs this month. However, he’s 0-for-8 with five strikeouts vs. Musgrove.
Slated to take the mound for Philadelphia on Saturday, Aaron Nola (7-7, 4.48) is 0-1 with a 5.12 ERA in his past four starts. The right-hander has failed to complete five innings in each of his past two outings, and he gave up four runs, six hits and three walks in Sunday’s 7-4 home loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
“It’s just execution,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of Nola. “That’s all. Bottom line. Execution.”
Nola is 2-3 with a 3.66 ERA in six career starts against the Padres, but he last pitched against them in 2019. It’s also possible Nola will face his brother Austin, a catcher with San Diego, for the first time in their major-league careers.
Machado is 0-for-9 with three strikeouts vs. Aaron Nola. Machado’s homer Friday was just his fifth hit in 32 at-bats over his past eight games.
The Phillies hope to have slugger Rhys Hoskins back from a groin injury that’s kept him out of action since Aug. 5. Hoskins, who leads Philadelphia with 24 homers and 68 RBIs, is batting .394 (13-for-33) over his past 10 games, with three homers and 11 RBIs.
Hoskins is hitless in six at-bats against Musgrove, with three strikeouts.
–Field Level Media