Phillies-D-backs: 5 things you need to know

Phillies-D-backs: 5 things you need to know

August 23, 2013, 2:30 pm
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1. When and where

Already 4-3 on their 10-game homestand, the Phillies welcome the Arizona Diamondbacks to Citizens Bank Park this weekend for a three-game set. Friday’s game is at 7:05 p.m. on CSN.

2. Late-inning magic

Three of Ryne Sandberg’s four wins as Phillies manager have been walk-offs, with Michael Young playing an integral role in each victory. On Sunday, Young reached on a Hanley Ramirez error as the Phils walked off. On Wednesday, his game-winning line drive down the left field scored Carlos Ruiz. And on Thursday, Young hit a 60-foot dribbler that scored Jimmy Rollins from third base with two outs in the ninth to tie the Rockies.

The offense was 6 for 9 in the ninth inning Wednesday and Thursday, with three doubles, two walks and four runs.

3. Bullpen shaping up

Too little, too late, but it’s still a positive sign to see some of the young relievers succeeding. Aside from Luis Garcia -- who allowed five runs in 1 1/3 innings to the Dodgers and Rockies -- the Phillies’ bullpen has allowed one run in 16 1/3 innings the last seven days. That’s an ERA of 0.55.

4. Hamels on the hill

The starting staff hasn’t been as successful. Phillies starting pitchers rank last in the majors since the All-Star break with a 5.76 ERA. Subtract Cole Hamels from that and the unit has a 6.91 ERA.

Hamels, though? He’s been lights out, posting a 2.05 ERA since the beginning of July with a 1.00 WHIP. He’s gone at least seven innings in eight of his last nine starts.

Hamels (5-13, 3.61) is opposed by Diamondbacks left-hander Wade Miley (9-8, 3.56). Miley finished 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA last season, barely finishing second to Bryce Harper in NL Rookie of the Year voting. Harper had 112 voting points to Miley’s 105.

Miley is every bit as hot as Hamels -- he has a 2.10 ERA  and .225 opponents' batting average over his last 10 starts.

The Phillies missed Miley when they were in Arizona in May. He pitched six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts against them last season.

5. Goldzilla and Ruf

Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt would finish in the top-three in NL MVP voting if the season ended today. He’s hitting .300 with an NL-leading 31 homers and 100 RBIs. He ranks second in the NL in slugging percentage and OPS, third in walks and fourth in runs.

Goldschmidt has been remarkably consistent, hitting between five and seven home runs each month with an OPS between .828 and 1.133. He has 14 homers at home and 17 on the road, so it’s not as if all his work has been done at hitter-friendly Chase Field.

Goldschmidt and Darin Ruf are tied for the second in the NL with seven homers in August. Only Donnie Murphy and Justin Upton (eight) have hit more.