Phillies look to snap skid vs. Cardinals

MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies didn’t fare well in their most recent road series, against the New York Mets.

They did catch a break with Thursday’s rainout, meaning they avoided Jacob deGrom.

The Phillies hope to snap a three-game losing streak – all against the Mets — when they host the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

Not much went well over the past three games for the Phillies.

“As a team, as a club, we have to be better, especially in that batter’s box right now,” outfielder Bryce Harper said. “We need to go out there as big-leaguers and play the game we know how.”

Offensively, manager Joe Girardi doesn’t believe the corrections needed are major.

“I don’t think our swings have been really big,” Girardi said. “I don’t think we’re out of control. I just think we’re missing balls. We’re chasing a little bit, but I don’t see it like egregious chases. We’re just not swinging well right now.”

Right-hander Zach Eflin (0-0, 3.46) is listed as the Phillies’ probable starter, according to mlb.com. Both of Eflin’s starts this season have come against the Braves, against whom he has allowed five runs on 11 hits and two walks in 13 innings while fanning 10.

Eflin made his only start against St. Louis on May 19, 2018, when he allowed four runs – two earned – in 4 2/3 innings while earning a no-decision in a 7-6 Phillies win.

The Phillies’ bullpen will continue to be a bit thin since Archie Bradley’s oblique injury is expected to keep him out three to four weeks.

“We’d love to have Archie back as soon as possible,” Girardi said. “But some guys have to step up a little, and I think they’re capable of doing that.”

The inconsistent Cardinals will open a three-game series at Philadelphia with right-hander Carlos Martinez on the mound.

Martinez (0-2, 6.30 ERA) will make his third start this season. He has allowed seven runs while lasting five innings in each of his first two starts.

In Martinez’s career against the Philliles, he is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in eight games — four starts.

The Cardinals dropped two of three to the Washington Nationals. After falling 5-2 in the opener, they broke out for 14 runs in an 11-run win. But in the finale Wednesday, the Cardinals were listless in a 6-0 loss.

Not only did the offense struggle, so did the usually reliable defense. Part of the problem centers on injuries to outfielders Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader.

“Defense is a part of the lineup,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “We need to play good, clean baseball. Not perfect. The game’s hard. All we’re asking for is to make routine plays, be clean and be aggressive.”

The biggest positive to come from Wednesday’s loss was the 2,000th career game at catcher by the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina. He’s the only player in major-league history to catch 2,000 games with one team.

“To be honest, it’s just another number,” Molina said. “I just want to be there and play the game for our team and for our city and play to win it. I never think to go out there and make my numbers. I always think about the team first, and like I said, I wish this day ended with a different result. If we would have won this game, it would have been more special for me.”

–Field Level Media

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