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Phillies, Nola Vie for 3rd Sweep Against Skidding Reds

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Amid a season-long-tying four-game winning streak, the Philadelphia Phillies (37-27) will send ace RHP Aaron Nola to the mound on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, looking for the club's third series sweep of the season. Nola will oppose seven-year veteran RHP Sonny Gray and the National League Central-worst Cincinnati Reds (28-35). The Phillies have won seven of their last eight home games, and are 22-11 at the venue overall.

The Phillies' hot stretch, since June 4, comes after losing five straight from May 30 to June 3. The club has scored no fewer than four runs in each of the wins, while allowing no more than six. The Reds, meanwhile, have lost five of their last six games since June 1, scoring two runs or less in each defeat. The David Bell-managed squad has scored only 11 runs in six games this month.

On Saturday, RHP Nick Pivetta fired 105 pitches for his first-career complete game, allowing only six hits and one run while striking out en route to a Phillies 4-1 victory. The game took just two hours and 17 minutes to play. The recently acquired Jay Bruce gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead, in which they never surrendered, with a two-out, two-RBI bases loaded single in the bottom of the first inning. J.T. Realmuto went 1-for-2 with two walks and a fourth-inning solo home run. Jean Segura delivered the Phillies' fourth and final run by tripling home Bryce Harper, his third three-bagger of the season, in the fifth inning. Pivetta's season ERA is down to 4.93, from the ugly 8.35 ERA he had posted over his first four starts, prior to his demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The right-hander has allowed only one run over his last 19 innings.

The Phillies have won five straight home games against the Reds; in each win, they scored no fewer than four runs, and logged exactly six hits. With a win on Sunday, the Phillies will have swept the Reds at home in back-to-back series for the first time since the summer of 1952. The Phillies are 36-17 all-time against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Cincinnati Reds (28-35) Philadelphia Phillies (37-27)
RHP Sonny Gray RHP Aaron Nola
(2-5, 3.54 ERA) (6-1, 4.63 ERA)

RHP Sonny Gray, Age: 29

  • Career vs. PHI: N/A
  • Career at Citizens Bank Park: N/A

Gray has never faced the Phillies, with 155 of his 167 career appearances coming in the American League with the Oakland Athletics (2013-17) and New York Yankees (2017-18).

The 2015 American League Al-Star has only allowed more than three runs in one of his 12 starts this season (4, April 23, vs. Atlanta Braves). Gray's 2-5 record is deceiving, as during his five losing decisions, the Reds scored no more than five runs and were shut out twice (0-5, 0-2, 1-4, 2-3, 2-5).


RHP Aaron Nola, Age: 26

  • Career vs. CIN: 2-1, 2.57 ERA, 4 G, 4 GS, 28 IP, 18 H, 9 R, 8 ER, 3 HR, 6 BB, 28 SO, 0.857 WHIP
  • Career at Citizens Bank Park: 27-14, 3.13 ERA, 54 G, 54 GS, 336 2/3 IP, 290 H, 125 R, 117 ER, 41 HR, 96 BB, 389 SO, 1.147 WHIP

Nola is coming off of his first losing decision of the season (June 3, at San Diego Padres), in which he allowed six runs on eight hits, three walks and five strikeouts spanning 5 1/3 innings and 93 pitches (56 strikes). The right-hander had gone 5-0 with a 2.78 ERA over his eight prior starts — in which the Phillies posted a 7-1 record.

Starting Lineups:

Cincinnati Reds (28-35) Philadelphia Phillies (37-27)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 LF Jesse Winker L 1 2B Cesar Hernandez S
2 1B Joey Votto L 2 RF Bryce Harper L
3 3B Eugenio Suarez R 3 SS Jean Segura R
4 2B Derek Dietrich L 4 1B Rhys Hoskins R
5 RF Yasiel Puig R 5 C J.T. Realmuto R
6 SS Jose Iglesias R 6 LF Jay Bruce L
7 CF Jose Peraza R 7 CF Scott Kingery R
8 C Curt Casali R 8 3B Maikel Franco R
9 P Sonny Gray R 9 P Aaron Nola R

Broadcast Information:

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

Recent Phillies Transactions:

Game Notes:


    • The Phillies have won eight of their 11 home series this season (8-2-1). Over their last 13 series overall, the club has gone 9-2-2.
    • The Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and New York Mets are the only teams with multiple complete games this year, notes Jared Sandler. In addition to Pivetta's complete game on Saturday, Zach Eflin has previously logged two, with one being a shutout.
    • Bruce is first Phillies player in franchise history with four home runs and 11 RBI in his first five games with the team; only Trevor Story (2016, Rockies, 6 HR, 11 RBI) and Reggie Sanders (2003, Pirates, 4 HR, 11 RBI) have also accomplished this feat in MLB history, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.
  • Bruce's stats during eight-game hitting streak: 27 AB, 10 R, 11 H, 5 HR, 12 RBI, 2 BB, 3 SO, .407/.448/1.074
  • A Phillies win on Sunday would give them five straight wins for the first time this season.
  • Bryce Harper (0-7, BB, 4 SO), Jean Segura (0-4, 2 SO), Jay Bruce (0-3), and J.T. Realmuto (0-2, BB, SO) are a combined 0-for-16 in their careers against Gray. Reds slugger Joey Votto is 0-for-11 in his career against Nola (RBI, BB, 2 SO) (click to expand).


What's Next:

  • Monday, June 10, 2019: vs. Arizona Diamondbacks, 7:05 p.m.
    • Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pa.
    • RHP Taylor Clarke (1-2, 4.43 ERA) vs. RHP Jerad Eickhoff (3-3, 4.14 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

The Phillies will play three home games against the Arizona Diamondbacks before embarking on a 26-game stretch all against National League East opponents — from June 14 to July 14, after the All-Star Break.


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