Minor League Report: Crawford leads 'Pigs to 12th straight win
Phillies unable to avoid sweep by Rangers

Phillies aim to avoid sweep against Rangers

By Nick Mandarano, Sports Talk Philly Staff  

ARLINGTON — The Phillies have lost fourteen of their last seventeen games and have been outscored 101-74 during that span. Wednesday's loss resulted in the sixth consecutive series loss for Philadelphia. Prior to their series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, which began this rough stretch, the Phillies had won six straight games and were two games above .500. Now they sit nine games below .500 and 10.0 games back in the National League East.

The Phillies pitching staff has struggled in May so far, combining for a 5.68 ERA (79 ER, 125.1 IP). Compared to their 4.29 ERA (97 ER, 203.1 IP) in April, the pitching performance this month has been disappointing. Philadelphia is 3rd in the Major Leagues in ERA during the month of May behind only division rivals New York (6.16) and Atlanta (5.70).

The Phillies will look to Nick Pivetta in an attempt to turn things around. Pivetta, who made his Major League debut earlier this season, is also looking for his first career victory. With Aaron Nola scheduled to return to the rotation on Sunday, this could potentially be Pivetta's final start.


Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (14-23) Texas Rangers (21-20)
RHP  Nick Pivetta RHP Martin Perez
(0-2, 6.14 ERA) (1-5, 3.89 ERA)

Nick Pivetta — Age: 24;

  • Last Start: May 13, 2017, at WSH: ND, 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 SO, 1 HR
  • Career vs. Rangers: N/A

In just three career Major League starts, Nick Pivetta has yet to make it past the fifth inning. With a 1.909 WHIP, baserunners have been an issue for Pivetta so far, but the Rangers reach base at just a .312 rate, which ranks them 22nd in the Majors. On the other hand, the Rangers boast the fifth best AB/HR rate (24.1) of any Major League team. The young righty has already given up 5 home runs in his 14.2 innings this season. Pivetta, who has relied heavily on his slider against right-handed batters and changeup against left-handed batters, must continue to keep the ball low in the zone to find success against Texas today.

 

Martin Perez — Age: 26;

  • Last Start: May 11, 2017, vs. SD: ND, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 SO, 0 HR
  • Career vs. Phillies: (0-0), 1 G, 5.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 SO, 0 HR, 3.18 ERA

In his last five starts, Martin Perez is 0-4 with a 4.58 ERA. He is 4-5 with a 4.46 ERA in 14 starts against the National League in his career. Perez throws five pitches consistently: a four-seam, sinker, changeup, slider and curveball. His fastball and sinker average about 94-95 mph, while his off-speed is generally mid-80's. His curveball, however, dips into the high 70's with 12-6 movement.

Right-handed hitters have historically hit well above .300 against his fastball (.326), sinker (.318) and curveball (.344). This season, though, righties are hitting .396 against the sinker, but poorly against all other pitches, while the lefties are finding more success on batted balls.

In 2017, Perez has generated more ground balls than fly balls (1.68:1) and is allowing line drives at a career-high rate (26.7%).


Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies (14-23) Texas Rangers (21-20)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 2B Cesar Hernandez S 1 DH Shin-Soo Choo
2 CF Odubel Herrera L 2 SS Elvis Andrus
3 LF Aaron Altherr R 3 RF Nomar Mazara L
4 1B Tommy Joseph  R 4 C Robinson Chirinos R
5 3B Andres Blanco S 5 2B Rougned Odor L
6 RF Michael Saunders L 6 1B Ryan Rua R
7 DH Maikel Franco R 7 3B Joey Gallo L
8 C Andrew Knapp S 8 CF Jared Hoying L
9 SS Freddy Galvis  S 9 LF Delino DeShields R

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 2:05 p.m.
  • TV: CSN
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • Of all players with at least 30 at-bats in the month of May, Tommy Joseph (1.304) and Aaron Altherr (1.283) lead the National League in OPS.
  • Among all National League second basemen, Cesar Hernandez ranks 1st in runs (30), 2nd in average (.307), 2nd in on-base percentage (.376), 1st in fWAR (1.3) and is tied for first in hits with Daniel Murphy (47).
  • Tommy Joseph has raised his batting average 85 points from .179 to .264 over his last 15 games played. During May, Joseph is batting .395 with a .490 OBP and an .814 slugging percentage. Ten of his 17 hits in that duration have been for extra bases (6 2B, 4 HR).

Standings:

Updated: May 18, 2017
NL EAST W L GB RS RA
Nationals 25 14 -- 233 181
Braves 16 21 8.0 174 193
Mets 16 23 9.0 195 220
Phillies 14 23 10.0 169 185
Marlins 14 25 11.0 161 196

What's Next:

  • Friday, May 19, 2017: at Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:10 p.m.
    • Citi Field
    • RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.71 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41 ERA)
    • TV: CSN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP.

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