Stop. Howard time.
After playing the best game of their season Friday night, the Phillies (4-4) will host another seven-inning doubleheader Sunday against the NL East rival Atlanta Braves (9-6).
Jake Arrieta dazzled on Friday, throwing six shutout innings while striking out six in the Phillies 5-0 win over Atlanta. The red hot J.T. Realmuto hit his fourth homer of the season while Jay Bruce added a three run shot of his own. The bullpen combination of LHP Jose Alvarez, RHP Tommy Hunter and RHP Deolis Guerra, the latter of whom displayed a filthy changeup, threw three scoreless innings to lock down the dominating victory.
Sunday represents a tale of two stories on the mound for the Phillies. One of redemption and the other promise. RHP Vince Velasquez may be pitching for his spot in the rotation while top prospect RHP Spencer Howard will make his major-league debut and look to take that very position on the starting staff from Velasquez.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm while the second contest will begin roughly 40 minutes after game one. Both will air on NBCSP (tv) and WIP/WTTM1680 (radio) with the first game getting national tv attention via TBS.
While manager Joe Girardi has yet to specify whether Howard will debut in game one or two, reports have been circulating that he will start the back end of the doubleheader.
It's not official yet, but Joe Girardi is leaning towards having Spencer Howard start the second game of Sunday's doubleheader with Vince Velasquez starting the first. He's waiting to see how the Braves line-up their starters.— Matt Breen (@matt_breen) August 9, 2020
As for the Braves, they will counter with RHP Huascar Ynoa and LHP Max Fried, respectively.
Ynoa will be making his first major-league start and just his third overall appearance. He has struggled in his limited action, giving up six hits and six earned runs across three innings. Braves manager Brian Snitker is expected to only use Ynoa for a few innings, essentially making it a bullpen game.
Fried, however, is the Braves best starter after RHP Mike Soroka was lost to a season ending achilles injury. He is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA this season, but has struggled against the Phillies in his career. In nine appearances (three starts), Fried is 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA. Realmuto (.385/2 HR/5 RBI), superstar slugger Bryce Harper (.300/2/3) and struggling 2B Scott Kingery have all had massive success against Fried.
Facing the lefty should be a welcome opportunity for Kingery, as he has slumped to begin the season, with just two hits and a single RBI. He has two home runs in 11 at-bats against Fried, hitting at a .364 clip overall.
The Phillies sit just 1.5 games behind the Braves in the NL East standings and with a potential sweep of Sunday's doubleheader, would overtake them for second place.