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Harper Rests as Phillies Seek Series Win Behind Eflin

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

As the Philadelphia Phillies (38-29) go for the series win against the Arizona Diamondbacks (35-33) in Wednesday's three-game series and six-game home stand finale at Citizens Bank Park, the club's star right fielder — Bryce Harper — will not be in the starting lineup for the first time this season.

After losing Monday's series opener amid a game that produced a MLB-record 13 home runs, the Phillies rebounded on Tuesday, in part thanks to Scott Kingery's three-run home run to give the them an early lead. Kingery is slashing .297/.333/.757 this month with three doubles, one triple, four home runs, eight RBI, two walks and eight strikeouts spanning 10 games and 39 plate appearances; he has largely helped the Phillies stay afloat, with the team going 5-5 in the 10 contests.

RELATED | Phillies End D-backs' 5-Game Winning Streak to Even Series

The 26-year-old Harper will rest, as Nick Williams will make his second start in right field — a position in which he fielded 766 2/3 innings last season, committing only three errors spanning 137 chances. Harper's day off comes ahead of a crucial point for the Phillies, who after Thursday's off day will embark on a 26-game stretch (16 on the road) solely against National League East opponents — from June 14 to July 14, after the All-Star Break.

With a win on Wednesday, the Phillies will have won nine of their 12 home series this season, and improve to 10-2-2 over their last 14 series overall. In order for the Phillies to win, however, they will need to rely on Zach Eflin to outduel Rookie Diamondbacks RHP Merrill Kelly.

Prior to the game, the Phillies activated RHP Edubray Ramos from the 10-day injured list and optioned LHP Austin Davis to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.


Starting Pitching Matchup:

Arizona Diamondbacks (35-33) Philadelphia Phillies (38-29)
RHP Merrill Kelly RHP Zach Eflin
(6-6, 4.12 ERA) (6-5, 2.88 ERA)

RHP Merrill Kelly, Age: 30

Kelly, 30, will make his 14th career start — and his first against the Phillies. The right-hander has won each of his last two starts, combining to allow only two runs (1.23 ERA), nine hits and two walks spanning 14 2/3 innings between facing the New York Mets and home and the Toronto Blue Jays on the road.

Overall through seven road starts, the rookie has posted a 3-4 record, 6.00 ERA and 1.667 WHIP, as opposed to a 3-2 record, 2.35 ERA and 1.070 WHIP spanning six home starts.

Prior to being in the Tampa Bay Rays organization (2010-14), Kelly pitched in the Korean Baseball Organization from 2015 to 2018.

Last5

RHP Zach Eflin, Age: 25

Eflin will make his second start since missing a turn in the rotation due to mid-back tightness. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.10 ERA, 1.049 WHIP and 26-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio through five home starts this season, including his most recent outing in which he allowed just one run spanning 6 1/3 solid innings opposite the Cincinnati Reds last Friday.


Starting Lineups:

Arizona Diamondbacks (35-33) Philadelphia Phillies (38-29)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 CF Ketel Marte S 1 2B Cesar Hernandez S
2 2B Ildemaro Vargas S 2 SS Jean Segura R
3 LF David Peralta L 3 LF Jay Bruce L
4 RF Adam Jones R 4 1B Rhys Hoskins R
5 3B Eduardo Escobar S 5 C J.T. Realmuto R
6 1B Christian Walker R 6 CF Scott Kingery R
7 SS Nick Ahmed R 7 RF Nick Williams L
8 C Carson Kelly R 8 3B Maikel Franco R
9 P Merrill Kelly R 9 P Zach Eflin R

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 1:05 p.m.
  • TV: NBCSP
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

00

  • The Phillies will continue to look to fend off the streaking Braves, and prevent them from grabbing sole possession of first place in the National League East. Both teams will meet for the first time since the season-opening series (March 28, 30-31) starting Friday at SunTrust Park.
  • Active Phillies Hitting Streaks (5 or more games):
    • Bryce Harper, 7: 29 AB, 4 R, 9 H, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 8 SO, .310/.375/.379
    • J.T. Realmuto, 5: 18 AB, 4 R, 7 H, HR, RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, .389/.476/.611
  • The Diamondbacks' starting right fielder (Adam Jones) and shortstop (Nick Ahmed) on Wednesday are a combined 0-for-5 in their careers against Eflin. No Phillies player has previous opposed Kelly (click to expand).

CareerVS


What's Next:

  • Friday, June 14, 2019: at Atlanta Braves, 7:20 p.m.
    • SunTrust Park, Atlanta, Ga.
    • RHP Nick Pivetta (4-1, 4.93 ERA) vs. LHP Max Fried (7-3, 4.11 ERA)
    • TV: NBC 10, Facebook-Watch; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

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