The Philadelphia Phillies (5-6) have hit well but not pitched very well thus far in the 2020 season. They will host the Orioles for the next three nights at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies beat Atlanta 13-8 last night at home to split a four-game series. They scored 18 runs in the two games they won and just two runs in the two they lost. But the Phillies offense is averaging 5.0 runs per game and they rank first in the National League in team OPS at .790. The Philly pitching staff ranks next to last in the league and 28th in the majors with a team ERA of 5.50.
Philadelphia’s starting rotation ranks fifth in the majors with a 3.20 ERA. But the Phillies bullpen has been terrible, with a team ERA of 9.87 to rank last in Major League Baseball. The next worst club is two runs better and that’s Cincinnati at 7.77. Philly bullpen pitchers have allowed 51 hits and nine home runs over 31 innings.
The Orioles (7-7) are in third place in the American League East, a half-game behind second-place Tampa Bay and two games behind the first-place New York Yankees. The O’s game with Washington was suspended in the sixth inning Sunday when the Nats grounds crew could not get the tarp on the field in time. The Orioles hold a 5-2 lead in the game that will be resumed at 5:05 p.m. on Friday at Oriole Park.
The Orioles offense ranks near the top of the AL in several categories. Even though Sunday’s game was not completed, the stats from the game are already reflected in the MLB computer. As a team, the O’s rank fourth in the AL in batting average (.251), third in OBP (.324), and second to the Yankees in both slugging (.446) and OPS (.770). Baltimore is scoring 4.66 runs per game. Anthony Santander’s two RBIs from Sunday are already in the computer and he is tied for fourth in the AL with 14 RBIs.
The O’s send right-hander Alex Cobb (1-1, 2.51 ERA) to the mound tonight to make his fourth start. Cobb falls a couple of outs shy of qualifying for the league leaders or he would rank 10th in the AL in ERA. In his last start, in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader with the Marlins, he gave up two hits and one run over five innings. For the year, Cobb has allowed 10 hits and four runs over 14 1/3 innings with six walks, 15 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.116.
Lefty batters are hitting .161 with an OPS against of .526 versus Cobb and right-handers are batting .208/.780. Cobb has thrown his fastball 47 percent of the time with an average velocity of 92.7 mph. He is throwing his splitter 35 percent and curveball 18 percent.
Cobb is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA in one career start against the Phillies. On July 3, 2018, he took a loss in Philadelphia while pitching for the Orioles, allowing four hits and three runs over 6 2/3 innings. In 22 career interleague starts, Cobb is 10-8 with a 2.71 ERA and a 0.986 WHIP. Opposing batters have hit .201/.263/.308 against him.
The Phillies signed right-hander Zack Wheeler (2-0, 2.08 ERA) to a huge contract in December. They added the free agent on a five-year deal for $118 million.
Tonight is his third start for his new team. He is coming off an outing where he got the win Wednesday against the Yankees, going six innings and allowing three runs on 87 pitches.
In two career starts against the Orioles, he is 1-0 with an 0.75 ERA, allowing one run over 12 innings. In 20 career interleague games, Wheeler is 7-5 with a 4.61 ERA.
His average fastball velocity is 96.5 mph and he throws the pitch 63 percent with his slider as his next most used pitch at 18 percent.
The O’s will play a total of 20 games against National League opponents this season, including contests with the Miami Marlins (0-4), Nationals (2-0), Phillies (three games), New York Mets (four games) and Atlanta Braves (three games). Since interleague play began in 1997, the O’s are 199-230. They went 7-13 against the NL last season. Baltimore’s 14 interleague victories in 2016 were the most in club history.