Phillies look to regain form in Arizona

MLB Baseball

The Philadelphia Phillies established momentum with a season-best eight-game winning streak and then immediately reverted to their inconsistent nature.

The Phillies have lost four of their past six games and aim to rediscover their recent good form when they begin a three-game series on Tuesday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix.

Philadelphia had moved into first place in the National League East due to the solid winning streak but now sits second in the tightly bunched division behind the Atlanta Braves and ahead of the New York Mets.

Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper says his team only needs to worry about itself as it embarks on a six-game road trip against the Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres.

“You want to win every game possible to stay up there, but we have a long way to go,” Harper told reporters after Sunday’s 7-4 home loss to the Cincinnati Reds. “You know the Braves are going to keep going, they’re going to keep playing well. That’s the Braves. That’s their team. Same with the Mets. They’re going to keep playing well.

“We have to do the same. We have to keep winning games and doing our thing. It doesn’t matter what the other teams do. We have to keep winning games. If we don’t win, it doesn’t matter.”

Harper, 28, is batting .304 (14-for-46) with five homers and 11 RBIs in August. He also has reached 13 other times on 12 walks and one hit by pitch.

The former NL MVP in 2015 for the Washington Nationals is batting .297 overall with 21 homers and 49 RBIs. He has failed to make the NL All-Star team in all three of his seasons with the Phillies.

Rhys Hoskins leads Philadelphia in both homers (24) and RBIs (68). Andrew McCutchen has 21 homers and ranks second with 59 RBIs.

Arizona has endured a long season but certainly found enjoyment by winning three of four games against the Padres.

The Diamondbacks outscored San Diego 22-5 while winning the first three games, and rookie left-hander Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter on Saturday in his first career start.

Josh Rojas terrorized the Padres by going 10-for-15 with two walks. He had one homer, one triple, three doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored.

Rojas had a four-hit game on Thursday and three on Sunday when he fell a triple short of the cycle.

The 27-year-old is batting .489 (22-of-45) with seven multi-hit outings over his past 13 games.

“He’s an unbelievable talent, he’s got a very good mindset and he is being rewarded with some good outcomes from all the hard work that he’s put in,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said of Rojas. “And those are the most gratifying times for all of us, especially Josh.”

Lovullo hasn’t yet announced a starting pitcher for Tuesday. The Diamondbacks are scrambling after right-hander Merrill Kelly was scratched on Sunday and placed on the 10-day injured list due to a positive COVID-19 test that came back Saturday.

Arizona is down two starters with right-hander Taylor Widener on the injured list due to cold-like symptoms.

Right-hander Kyle Gibson (8-4, 2.91 ERA) will start the opener for the Phillies.

The 33-year-old Gibson is 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts since being acquired from Texas. He was an All-Star for the Rangers prior to the trade.

Gibson won his first two starts for Philadelphia before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers last Wednesday. He gave up six runs (three earned) and six hits over 4 1/3 innings.

Gibson is 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA in two career starts against the Diamondbacks. Ketel Marte is 2-for-9 against Gibson, while Asdrubal Cabrera is 2-for-10.

–Field Level Media

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