Arrieta will try to pitch Phillies out of slump against Marlins
MIAMI — The second-place Philadelphia Phillies, who lost a chance on Monday to gain a game on the division-leading Atlanta Braves, will take another shot on Tuesday.
The Phillies, who play in the National League East, lost 3-1 to the last-place Miami Marlins on Monday. The Braves lost 8-2 to the Boston Red Sox, which meant that Atlanta’s lead in the division remains at four games.
On Tuesday, the Phillies will try to snap a three-game losing streak, turning to Jake Arrieta (9-9, 3.54 ERA).
Arrieta, who signed a three-year, $75 million contract in March, won a National League Cy Young Award in 2015 and a World Series with the Chicago Cubs in 2016. He was signed to give the Phillies quality pitching as well as veteran leadership.
Lately, though, Arrieta has struggled, going 0-3 with a 6.30 ERA in his past four starts. He has allowed eight earned runs in his past nine innings, including four homers.
He hasn’t been that great against the lowly Marlins this season, either, going 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in three starts.
Arrieta, 32, will be matched against 25-year-old rookie right-hander Trevor Richards, who doesn’t throw particularly hard but has struck out 103 batters in 101 1/3 innings, mostly because of his effective changeup.
Overall this season, Richards is 3-7 with a 4.26 ERA. But in his past seven starts, he has a 3.49 ERA.
On paper, Arrieta should get the better of Richards, especially since Miami’s lineup is full of inexperienced players.
For example, the outfielders employed by Miami on Monday were rookie Austin Dean in left, rookie Lewis Brinson in center and right fielder Rafael Ortega, who has just 90 games of major-league experience.
Brinson, hitting just .196 this year, may be starting to turn a corner. He has five hits in his past three games and went 2-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI on Monday.
“It feels good,” said Brinson, who was sidelined by injuries this year and also spent 14 games in the minors after a brutal batting slump. “I’ve had time to think about some stuff. I’ve had time to work on some stuff. It’s nice to contribute.”
Brinson also said he feels more “relaxed” now at the plate.
“I got my mind right,” said Brinson, 24, who flashed his potential last year when he hit .331 with 13 homers and a .962 OPS in 76 Triple-A games for the Milwaukee Brewers organization. “I want to have a good September and finish the season strong.”
The Phillies, meanwhile, need to have a strong September or they will be finished in the drive for the postseason.
Other than an upper-deck, solo home run by Asdrubal Cabrera, the Phillies were quiet on Monday, failing to get to Marlins starter Jose Urena or the two relievers who followed him.
To make matters worse, Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who had carried the offense for the better part of six weeks this summer, sat out Monday’s game with a sore right wrist that has bothered him for about one week. He has missed four of the past six games since he got jammed on an inside pitch.
“I was playing with the injury, but the past couple of days it has bothered me a lot,” Franco told philly.com. “It’s tough because I try to do everything I can to help the team. I’m trying to be available as soon as I can.”
Franco, who is just 2-for-25 since Aug. 24, said it’s unlikely he will play Tuesday. The Phillies need the performance that Franco showed before this slump, when he hit .323 with 12 homers in 53 games.
Cabrera replaced Franco at third base on Monday, and left fielder Rhys Hoskins, who leads the Phillies with 27 homers and 83 RBIs, was also given a rare start off. He flew out as a pinch-hitter and will be in Tuesday’s lineup, according to Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.
Hoskins had started every game since June 9.
“We’ve really ridden Rhys hard,” Kapler told mlb.com. “We may not give him another off day for the rest of the season.”