Philadelphia Phillies at Boston Red Sox
When and Where: Tuesday, Aug. 20, Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., 7:10 p.m. EDT.
If this is indeed the last stand of the Boston Red Sox, they are at least going down with a fight.
The defending World Series champions look to match a season best Tuesday night with a sixth consecutive victory as they play the first of two games versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
Nola seeks fourth win in five starts as Phils try to gain ground in NL wild card
The Phillies (64-60) entered play Monday night part of a three-way tie with Milwaukee and the New York Mets, two games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second National League wild-card spot and 3 1/2 games behind division rival Washington for the first.
The momentum of a three-game sweep of the Cubs fizzled out over the weekend as Philadelphia dropped the final two games of its series versus San Diego, capped by a 3-2 loss Sunday. Jean Segura drove in both runs with a pair of RBI doubles, but the Phillies generated few scoring chances and finished 1 for 3 with runners in scoring position.
“There’s really no time to think about what happened here and what could have or should have; we have to go to Boston and do the job,” pitcher Jason Vargas told the Phils’ official website after allowing two runs in 5 2-3 innings and not factoring in the decision.
“It’s frustrating to lose the game and the series,” manager Gabe Kapler added. “We were 4-2 on the homestand and [had] really high-quality at-bats across the board today that didn’t end with the best possible results.”
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 19, 2019
Aaron Nola (11-3, 3.56) hopes the offense perks up and Bryce Harper is able to play after leaving Sunday’s contest due to dehydration. Nola shook off a subpar outing in San Francisco with a sharp one Wednesday versus the Cubs, pitching free and easy with a 10-run lead after three innings and conceded a solo homer and two other hits in seven innings of an 11-1 rout.
Though Nola is 5-2 on the road, he has not shown Wednesday’s type of dominance often as he has a 4.63 ERA outside Citizens Bank Park. While the righty has pitched well in interleague matchups against AL Central teams this year, the opposition has been the division’s also-rans — Nola is 1-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three outings against the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox.
He had nothing to show for a stellar outing at Fenway Park last year, holding the Red Sox to one run in eight innings of Philadelphia’s 2-1, 13-inning defeat. It is also his lone appearance versus Boston.
Harper has struggled all season against AL pitching, hitting .130 (6 for 46) with 17 strikeouts and one homer. He has fared slightly better against Boston in his career, hitting .250 (8 for 32) with a pair of home runs in nine games ahead of his first trip to Fenway since 2015.