The Orioles venture into enemy territory tonight to start a two game set at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies, run by a couple of executives Orioles fans know well — Andy MacPhail and Matt Klentak — are surprise contenders so far this year. At the beginning of the season, the Phils were considered to still be in the dark days of a rebuild, but they have opened a lot of eyes with their first half.
Through 82 games, the Phillies are 45-37, good for second place in the NL East and only three games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves at the start of play Monday. They come into this matchup with a two game winning streak and a 6-4 record in their last 10 games. When playing at home this year, the Phillies are 12 games over .500 at 28-16.
The last time the Orioles saw the Phillies this season, it was during a rain-shortened one game series at Camden Yards. The Phillies came out on top in that matchup, beating the O’s by a score of 4-1 behind a strong starting pitching performance by Nick Pivetta.
The Phillies’ pitching has been solid so far in 2018, with the team compiling 46 quality starts, fourth most in the National League. They also rank third in the NL in strikeouts with 753 in 732.2 innings, and they have allowed the third fewest walks (251). Philadelphia is middle of the pack in most offensive categories among Senior Circuit teams, although they do rank fifth in home runs with 95.
Game One: Tuesday, 7:05 PM
RHP Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.75 ERA) vs. RHP Zach Eflin (6-2, 3.02 ERA)
The Orioles will send Alex Cobb to the mound in the series opener. He did not fare well in his last start against Seattle, when he allowed five runs in 4.2 innings. But two starts ago, he went seven innings and allowed only one run. This will be his first time facing the Phillies. In 20 interleague starts over the course of his career, Cobb is 10-6 with a 2.67 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
Philadelphia will counter with Zach Eflin, a 24-year-old right-hander in his third big league season. Like Cobb against the Phillies, this will also be Eflin’s first career start against the O’s. In his last outing, Eflin shut out the Yankees over seven innings, allowing four hits, two walks and six strikeouts. He has won his last five games in a row, during which time he has a 1.76 ERA. Eflin has a 2.59 ERA this year at home in Citizens Bank Park versus 3.34 on the road.
Game Two: Wednesday, 4:05 PM
TBD vs. RHP Aaron Nola (10-2, 2.48 ERA)
Arguably, Aaron Nola has been the ace of the Phillies staff so far this year, and the Orioles will try to solve him in the series finale before heading to Minnesota to finish out their road trip. Among Phillies starters, Nola has the lowest ERA and he is tied with Vincent Velasquez for most strikeouts with 107.
Opponents are only batting .205 against Nola on the year and he has a tidy 1.01 WHIP. Nola is 3-5 in 10 career interleague starts with a 4.86 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. This will be his first time facing the O’s. Over his last five starts, Nola is 3-0 with a 3.23 ERA with a .216 batting average against.
The Orioles rotation is currently in flux due to the Dylan Bundy injury, so they have yet to decide who will start this particular game. Jimmy Yacabonis took Bundy’s turn last time through the rotation, but he was demoted after pitching four innnings of two-run ball on June 28 against the Seattle Mariners.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series?
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