Preview: Brewers at Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies have had a tough start to June.
The Phillies have lost seven of their first eight games in the month and are currently on a four-game losing streak. They will try to avoid a sweep against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday afternoon.
Philadelphia, which won 15 games in both April and May, has fallen to just two games above .500 during its recent skid. It is the closest the team has been to .500 since it was 7-5 on April 13.
“We’re not playing our best baseball right now, that is part of a long season,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after a 12-3 loss on Saturday. “The one thing we’re devoted to is not getting too high or too low, getting caught up in the storm going on. We stay the course, we put our heads down, we get ready for the next day.”
The Phillies have scored just 2.8 runs per game over their last eight contests, but they did get a big piece of their offense back Saturday.
Outfielder Rhys Hoskins returned to the lineup and hit a three-run homer in a loss. Hoskins spent 10 days on the disabled list after he fractured his jaw by fouling a pitch off his face on May 28.
The Brewers, on the other hand, have combined for 24 runs and 26 hits in the first two games of the series at Citizens Bank Park. Twelve of Milwaukee’s hits in those two games have gone for extra bases and six have been home runs, including a pinch-hit grand slam from Ji-Man Choi on Saturday.
“We’re swinging the bats well. We added on after the grand slam,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Adding on, we were very good offensively after that and had some big hits.”
Zach Eflin (2-2, 3.74 ERA) will try to cool off the Brewers on Sunday. Eflin is the only Phillies starter with a win this month.
The right-hander threw 7 2/3 strong innings against the Chicago Cubs last Monday, giving up just one run on eight hits and one walk. It was the longest of Eflin’s six starts this season and came after he failed to get through five innings in three consecutive outings.
Eflin, 24, has never faced the Brewers in his 28 major league starts.
Brandon Woodruff (2-0, 6.05) will make his third start of the season for the Brewers. A right-hander, Woodruff has bounced between the majors and Triple-A this season and will be making his first appearance for the Brewers since May 23.
Woodruff, who has not pitched against the Phillies before, has a 6.05 ERA in 19 1/3 major league innings in 2018 and an 8.49 ERA as a starter. He went five innings and gave up two runs on one hit and four walks and struck out six in his last start against the Arizona Diamondbacks on May 16.
The Brewers have improved their record to 39-25 and maintained their lead in the National League Central with two wins so far in Philadelphia. Milwaukee goes for its 40th win Sunday, a mark the team hit on June 22 last year.