At the start of the season, who would have guessed the Phillies would be three and a half games out of first place on July 3? At the same time, who thought the Orioles would be 31.5 games out at this point? Yet here we are. Baseball is a funny game.
Right-hander Alex Cobb (2-9, 6.75 ERA) gets the call against Philadelphia tonight. He's never faced the Phillies before, so let's hope his unfamiliarity will catch them off guard. So far this year, Cobb is allowing runners on base at a dizzying pace, as evidenced by his 1.67 WHIP. He has allowed 104 hits and 14 home runs in 74.2 innings -- that's 12.5 hits and 1.7 home runs per nine innings.
On the other side, right-hander Zach Eflin (6-2, 3.02 ERA) is having a remarkable start for the Phils, especially considering his struggles the past two years. In 2016 his ERA was 5.54 and last year it was 6.16. Much of this year's success can be traced back to keeping the ball in the park and an ability to miss bats. In his career, Eflin has stuggled with those facets of the game, allowing 1.6 home runs and six strikeouts per nine innings. But this year, he's only giving up 0.6 home runs and striking out a robust 9.1 batters per nine innings.
This will be a game of firsts for both clubs, seeing as neither starter has faced the opposing team until tonight. The only player in the Phillies lineup that has seen Cobb in the past is Carlos Santana, who is hitting .143 in seven at-bats.
All the batters in the Orioles starting lineup will be facing the Phillies' Eflin for the first time tonight. Jace Peterson is 3-for-10 in his career against Eflin and Danny Valencia is 1-for-3, but both players will start the game on the bench. Jonathan Schoop is back in the lineup and batting seventh tonight after sitting the past three days, including yesterday's off day.
As far as roster moves, the Orioles placed infielder Steve Wilkerson on the disabled list with an oblique injury today and recalled pitcher Yefry Ramirez for tomorrow's start. Also, Colby Rasmus has been placed on the restricted list and Joey Rickard has been called up.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES|
|Tim Beckham - 3B||Cesar Hernandez - 2B|
|Adam Jones - CF||Rhys Hoskins - LF|
|Manny Machado - SS||Odubel Herrera - CF|
|Mark Trumbo - RF||Carlos Santana - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Nick Williams - RF|
|Trey Mancini - LF||Scott Kingery - SS|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Andrew Knapp - C|
|Chance Sisco - C||Maikel Franco - 3B|
|Alex Cobb - RHP||Zach Eflin - RHP|