When the Phillies signed Bryce Harper to a $330 million deal, they didn’t know they were getting a younger version of Mark Reynolds. Harper is off to a poor start at the plate, batting just .222 with 25 RBIs through 40 games and he is on pace for a disappointing 222 strikeouts. Over his last 20 games, he’s 10 for 68 (.147) with two home runs and 28 K’s. While the $330 million man has struggled at the dish, Harper has earned the respect of his teammates for his contributions on defense. The 26-year-old saved a couple of runs (and presumably the game) with a sensational diving grab with the bases loaded in the top of the 7th inning in Monday’s 7-4 series-opening victory over the Brewers. Can Harper and the Phillies come out on top once again versus a team expected to be one of their main contenders in the NL Pennant race?
Gonzalez giving Brewers’ rotation much-needed boost
Milwaukee will hand the ball to veteran lefty Gio Gonzalez, who has been a reliable starter despite entering the regular season without a Major League contract. Since Gonzalez opted out of his minor league deal with the NY Yankees and joined the Brewers, he’s done nothing but put zeroes up on the board. The 33-year-old lefty has given up just three earned runs in 16 innings of work at the MLB level and he is fresh off of his first win of 2019. Gonzalez tossed 5 ⅔ shutout frames to lead the Mets to victory on the road versus the Chicago Cubs in his last start. He comes in with a 1-0 record and a 1.69 ERA through three outings.
LORENZO CAIN BRINGS THEM ALL HOME.pic.twitter.com/0u1MTBbjBs
— Sporting News MLB (@sn_mlb) May 8, 2019
Gonzalez has seen plenty of the Phillies from his days in D.C. with the Nationals. He went 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in three starts versus Philadelphia last season and he is 3-2 with a 2.83 ERA in 10 starts versus the Phillies over the past three seasons combined.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Phillies rostering is batting .237 in 205 plate appearances off of the Brewers’ lefty. StatCast data projects them for an expected batting average of .230 and an expected slugging percentage of .348 heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
Arrieta struggling over last three starts
Right-handed ace Jake Arrieta will toe the rubber at Citizens Bank Park in Game 3 for the Phillies on Wednesday. Arrieta enters with a 4-3 overall record to go along with a 3.78 ERA in eight starts so far this season. The Phillies’ right-hander has allowed three runs or less in six of his eight outings, but he owns a 6.19 ERA over his last three starts. Arrieta gave up four runs on seven hits, including three home runs in five frames during his last outing — a 5-1 loss to the KC Royals.
Lovely night for a stroll …
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) April 25, 2019
Arrieta made two starts versus Milwaukee last season, finishing 0-2 with an 8.31 ERA, while allowing 13 runs (eight earned) in 8 ⅔ combined innings. Over the past three seasons combined, the Phillies’ ace is 4-3 with a 4.36 ERA versus the Brewers.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Brewers’ roster is batting only .233 on 149 plate appearances off of the Phillies’ right-hander. StatCast projects Milwaukee hitters for an expected batting average of .252 and an expected slugging percentage of .404 heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
- Brewers are 6-1 in their last 7 vs. National League East.
- Brewers are 4-1 in their last 5 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Brewers are 7-3 in their last 10 overall.
- Phillies are 1-4 in Arrieta’s last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
- Phillies are 1-5 in Arrieta’s last 6 starts following a team loss in their previous game.