Phillies-Marlins 5 things: Jerad Eickhoff's rough patch may be over

Phillies-Marlins 5 things: Jerad Eickhoff's rough patch may be over

Phillies (30-60) at Marlins (41-49)
7:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on and the NBC Sports App

Nick Williams' game-winning grand slam gave the Phillies something to feel good about as they flew from Milwaukee to Miami Sunday night.

The Phils are at Marlins Park for three games this week before returning home for a 10-game homestand. When this series ends, the Phils will have played 52 of their 93 games on the road.

1. Two in a row for Eickhoff?
Jerad Eickhoff returned from the disabled list on the final day of the first half, just in time to strike out eight Padres in five scoreless innings to pick up his first win of 2017.

Eickhoff (1-7, 4.63) had his great curveball working that afternoon and also had command of his fastball. When he has both, he's tough to beat. 

Eickhoff's last two starts have each been solid, with him allowing one run on 10 hits with 10 strikeouts in 11 innings. Both games were at Citizens Bank Park.

Keep an eye tonight on Eickhoff's mechanics. When he was a in a rut in May and June, he was consistently falling off the mound to his left side and his pitches to right-handed hitters were sailing high-and-away. 

Eickhoff has faced the Marlins five times and is 2-3 with a 3.30 ERA. He's struck out 27 and walked just four in 30 innings. At Marlins Park, he's 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA.

Current Fish have hit .307 off Eickhoff with 10 extra-base hits in just over 90 plate appearances. Marcell Ozuna is 3 for 10 with two doubles and a homer. Christian Yelich is 4 for 11 with a double and a homer. Justin Bour is 3 for 6 with a homer. Giancarlo Stanton is 1 for 6 with three strikeouts.

2. Deep Miami lineup
The Marlins have one of the deeper lineups in the National League, which must have manager Don Mattingly frustrated to be 10 games out of the wild-card race.

Stanton has hit .272 with a 26 homers, 59 RBIs and a .918 OPS. Most importantly, he's stayed healthy and played in 89 of 90 games.

Ozuna, an All-Star, has hit .317 with 23 homers, 70 RBIs and a .938 OPS.

Yelich is seeing the ball well and is now up to .288 with a .364 on-base percentage.

Catcher J.T. Realmuto is hitting .290.

Dee Gordon is hitting .290 with 32 steals.

And Bour's first half may have been the most impressive of all — the first baseman is hitting .287 with 20 homers and 61 RBIs. After barely facing left-handed pitchers in 2015 and 2016, Bour has hit .323 with six homers and a 1.045 OPS off of them this season.

3. Altherr to DL
Aaron Altherr was placed on the 10-day disabled list retroactive to July 15. He strained his right hamstring on a double Friday night in Milwaukee.

Cesar Hernandez, who played four games with High-A Clearwater during his rehab assignment, was activated Monday to take Altherr's spot on the 25-man roster.

Hernandez (oblique) went 1 for 1 with six walks in Sunday's 13-4 Threshers win.

The Phillies are also expecting right-hander Vince Velasquez (elbow) to return from the DL Tuesday.

The Phils missed Hernandez's consistency atop the lineup. He's hit .289 with a .361 on-base percentage since the start of 2016.

4. The Phils' incredibly mediocre nemesis
The Phillies face 31-year-old right-hander Tom Koehler tonight for the first time this season and 17th time since 2012.

In those previous 16 games (14 starts), Koehler is 4-4 with a 3.43 ERA.

Against every other team in his career, Koehler has a 4.51 ERA. 

This season, Koehler is 1-4 with an 8.00 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and .300 opponents' batting average. He's also allowed 12 home runs in just 45 innings. He's been arguably the worst starting pitcher in baseball this season.

And yet, much of that means nothing because the Phillies have let so many struggling pitchers off the hook in 2017. 

Current Phillies have just one home run off Koehler in more than 130 plate appearances. It belongs to Freddy Galvis. 

5. This and that
• Odubel Herrera continues to frustrate on the basepaths, but he's gradually getting his numbers back to a more respectable place. After doubling twice Sunday, he's hitting .320 with a .897 OPS since the beginning of June. He has 17 doubles, a triple and five home runs in those 37 games.

• The Phillies are 2-3 against the Marlins this season and 15-18 vs. the NL East. They actually don't have the worst divisional record in the NL East — the Braves do at 18-22.

• Perhaps the most impressive sign early in Nick Williams' big-league career is his use of the whole field. Of his 30 balls in play, 24 have been up the middle or to the opposite field. He's 0 for 6 when pulling the ball, 9 for 18 with two doubles and a homer going up the middle, and 3 for 6 with a homer when going the other way.

Phillies recall Jake Thompson from Triple A, option Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley

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Phillies recall Jake Thompson from Triple A, option Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley

After Monday night's rain-soaked blowout loss, the Phillies' bullpen seems to be a bit depleted.

With that in mind, the Phillies have recalled pitcher Jake Thompson from Triple A and optioned reliever Ricardo Pinto to Lehigh Valley.

After a lengthy rain delay cut short Vince Velasquez's start, the Phils' bullpen was charged with six innings of work in the 13-4 loss. Pinto, responsible for five of the runs, tossed 1 1/3 innings as play resumed in the fourth inning. 

He may not be down for long, though, as the Phils have an off day Thursday to recover.

Thompson seems like a peculiar choice to call up. He's struggled mightily this year in Lehigh Valley. The 23-year-old who came over in the Cole Hamels trade, is 4-11 with a 5.36 ERA. He's given up 107 hits in 94 innings pitched, as well as 36 walks on the year — one less than he gave up in 129 2/3 innings in 2016.

However, Thompson is already on the 40-man roster and has not pitched since going seven strong innings of two-run ball on July 20. 

Tonight's lineup: Phillies showcasing Howie Kendrick in cleanup spot

Tonight's lineup: Phillies showcasing Howie Kendrick in cleanup spot

With less than a week to go before the trade deadline, the Phillies are putting Howie Kendrick in prime position to show off his skillset to a contender.

After sitting out last night's 14-3 loss, Kendrick returns to the lineup, batting cleanup and playing left field. In four games since returning from a hamstring injury, Kendrick has picked up where he left off, hitting .364 with two RBIs. Overall, Kendrick has appeared in just 37 games for the Phillies in 2017, but has been exceptional when healthy. 

Although he may not hit for power, his .350 batting average and ability to play multiple positions in the infield and outfield should be enough to interest teams. 

Cesar Hernandez will again lead off vs. the Astros. Much like Kendrick, Hernandez has had a strong return from the DL, hitting .321 with six RBIs in seven games since the All-Star break. He's also worked five walks compared to just three strikeouts. It's no surprise Hernandez's return has coincided with the Phillies' recent hot offensive stretch (see Game Notes)

Since the All-Star break, the Phillies have the seventh-most runs scored in all of baseball. Monday's loss ended a stretch of seven straight games of five or more runs scored for the Phillies — their longest single-season stretch since 2005.

Nick Williams will hit in the three-hole for the second straight game. Williams has sparked the Phils' stagnant offense since his arrival to the big leagues. In 20 MLB games, Williams is slashing .315/.350/.966 with four homers and 18 RBIs. 

Here is the Phillies lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Howie Kendrick, LF
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Tommy Joseph, 1B
8. Cameron Rupp, C
9. Nick Pivetta, P

And for the Astros:
1. Jose Altuve, 2B
2. Josh Reddick, RF
3. Yuli Gurriel, 1B
4. Evan Gattis, C
5. Marwin Gonzalez, SS
6. Derek Fisher, CF
7. Alex Bregman, 3B
8. Norichika Aoki, LF
9. Charlie Morton, P