No More Slip-Ups, Please: .500/Second-Place Phillies in Milwaukee to Face Reeling Brewers

No More Slip-Ups, Please: .500/Second-Place Phillies in Milwaukee to Face Reeling Brewers

The Brewers have won three out of their last 13 games. Two of those W’s came at the expense of the Phillies.

Despite last weekend’s series nearly turning into a complete catastrophe for the Fightins, they did salvage one game at least, and have since managed to climb back to .500 for the first time since April 15 by virtue of the current four-game winning streak. Their sweep of the Marlins is the club’s first since handling the Mets back on April 26-28.

Now the Phils are looking to move above the .500 mark for the first time in 2013, but it’s that same pesky Brew Crew standing in their way. Are they primed for yet another slip-up?

Nobody can say this team hasn’t had their share of chances to get on the right side of the win-loss column. The fifth time was finally the charm in getting it back to .500, while earlier this season they were having a hellacious time just getting within one game of even, failing to do so in eight consecutive attempts at one point.

It’s felt like one step back for every one forward to say the least, yet here is another opportunity to capitalize with a four-game set in Milwaukee. At 22-36, the Brewers still own the third-worst record in the Major Leagues, better than only Houston and Miami. They have the worst pitching staff in the NL (4.61 ERA), and their best player – Ryan Braun – is hurting (batting .213 with one home run in his last 15 games), not to mention under a dark cloud in the wake of this Biogenesis scandal.

With a series win, the Phillies could give themselves a little two-game cushion above .500, and perhaps even help them continue building some momentum. The current winning streak is their longest of the season, and they are 14-9 since May 11.

They’ll have to solve right-hander Wily Peralta (4-6, 5.94) first. Peralta held the Phils to two runs in seven innings of work on Saturday, by far his best outing of the season. The good guys could certainly use some more help from the bats versus the 22 year old this time around as Tyler Cloyd (1-2, 4.76) is being called upon for the Fightins.

In the grand scheme, this is not a huge game, but Milwaukee is one of those opponents the Phillies must beat if they are to be taken seriously. After the last series, and given the way much of this year has gone, it’s hard to go in with supreme confidence. Tonight would be a good way to continue putting the first six weeks to two months of the season behind them.

Basebrawl! Bryce Harper fights Giants' Hunter Strickland after HBP

Basebrawl! Bryce Harper fights Giants' Hunter Strickland after HBP

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland's 98 mph in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied. At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Str

NBA Finals: Warriors coach Steve Kerr not well yet, but hasn't ruled himself out for Game 1

NBA Finals: Warriors coach Steve Kerr not well yet, but hasn't ruled himself out for Game 1

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State's Steve Kerr expects to decide soon whether he will coach in the NBA Finals, saying Monday he's not yet ready but hasn't ruled himself out for Game 1.

Kerr said: "As of right now I would not coach Thursday night. It's still up in the air." He said that by Game 1, he might make a decision on his status.

The reigning NBA Coach of the Year, still not feeling well after a May 5 procedure to repair a spinal fluid leak, addressed the media Monday when acting coach Mike Brown was out with the flu.

He joked: "I told the team the good news is the team is really healthy, the bad news is the coaching staff is dropping like flies."

Brown has been coaching the team since Game 3 of the first round at Portland, with Kerr assisting at practice and from the locker room before and during games.