Friday: Zach Davies (97.1 IP, 4.90 ERA, 5.83 K/9) v. Nick Pivetta (59.0 IP, 4.73 ERA, 9.46 K/9)
With the entire staff available on regular (or better) rest, skipper Craig Counsell turns to Davies for the second half’s opening day, presumably to teach us all the valuable lesson that life is terrible and meaningless and it is better to give up and embrace death than fight the never-ending onslaught of pain that constitutes our existence. At 10-4 and tied for third in the National League in wins, Davies is a living argument for the abolishment of the stat.
Nick Pivetta is the kind of shit that happens to you when you decide to give Ryan Howard 795 billion dollars. He’s a command guy not unlike his opponent Friday, but big leaguers aren’t chasing his stuff; he’s walking 11.1% of opposing batters.
Saturday: James Nelson (109.0 IP, 3.30 ERA, 9.74 K/9) v. Aaron Nola (80.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 9.07 K/9)
My ancient and unceasing war against people with two first names not withstanding, James and/or Nelson has been one of the best pitchers in the National League this season. The league’s ERA is 4.35, the highest it’s been since the close of the steroid era and more than half a run higher than it was just three years ago, so his 3.30 ERA this season should be viewed through that lens — it’s akin to a sub-3.00 ERA just a few seasons ago.
Speaking of 2014, that was the year Nola was drafted with the seventh overall pick in the draft. He has already made himself into one of the best young pitchers in the game in that time. His velocity is up almost a tick and a half over last season, and he seems to be over the injury issues that have plagued the early part of his career.
Sunday: Matt Garza (72.1 IP, 3.98 ERA, 6.35 K/9) v. Jeremy Hellickson (102.1 IP, 4.49 ERA, 4.66 K/9)
Hellickson doesn’t miss many bats, but he does lead the Phillies in an underappreciated stat, which is innings pitched. IP would be better loved if it was called what it actually is: Outs Recorded. That’s the pitchers one and only job! And Hellickson has done it more than anyone else on the Phillies. Good job, Jeremy.
Matt Garza is going to start for Milwaukee. There’s only like, 13 or 14 more times I’ll have to say that.
All-Time: 60-72 (34-34 in Milwaukee)
Lots of teams have historically given the Brewers the god damned business, but the Phillies are true pros. Milwaukee’s 60 wins against Philadelphia are its 4th-lowest total against any single team, including the Rays who they have played just nine times.
Are the Phillies good?
They seem like good boys who are trying their best.
Who is the most handsome Phillies player?
According to very literally the undisputed expert on the subject, @TheGreyKing, Nick Williams is the most handsome Phillies player. He seems pretty handsome to me.
Hitters to watch:
Vince Velasquez, RHP: According the fWAR, Velasquez has been Philladelphia’s 8th-best hitter in 2017. He won’t pitch in this series, but the stats suggest the Phillies lineup is so dang bad that he should be the first bat off the bench on a nightly basis.
Maikel Franco, 3B: Just two years removed from an outstanding rookie season in which he slashed .280/.343/.497, Franco has bottomed out and is one of the worst qualified hitters in baseball. His 69 wRC+ is the 7th-lowest in the National League; this despite a rock-bottom 13.5% strikeout rate that ranks among the league leaders.
If the Phillies were a Taylor Swift GIF, which one would they be?
Milwaukee Broadcast Information:
Friday: 7:10 pm on FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Saturday: 6:10 pm on FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Sunday: 1:10 pm on FS Wisconsin and 620 WTMJ
Who’s gonna win the baseball games?
A bit of rest is good for everyone, but the All-Star break could hardly have come at a worse time for the Brewers, who were one of the hottest teams in the league coming into the break. The Brewers will take two out of this three game set, with the baseball gods soundly punishing them during one game for inexplicably sending Michael Blazek back to the minor leagues while Carlos Torres remains employed by the big league club.