Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph dropped to 7th for series finale vs. Brewers


Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph dropped to 7th for series finale vs. Brewers

Despite have just a 3-2 record over the last five games, the Phillies have still experienced an offensive resurgence by scoring 34 runs in that span.

It's been a team effort, but Tommy Joseph hasn't been the Phils' hottest hitter lately. Far from it.

So it's not a shock manager Pete Mackanin has dropped Joseph down to seventh in the order as the Phillies look to earn a series victory against the Brewers in today's finale of the team's three-game set.
Joseph is hitting .200 (7 for 35) with a double and and just 2 RBIs over the last nine games.

In the meantime, rookie Nick Williams has emerged (.333, 11 for 33 with two doubles, two triples, two homers and 11 RBIs over the last nine games) and Maikel Franco (.316, 12 for 38 with four doubles, a home run and 7 RBIs over the last nine games) has heated back up to shoulder the load for the Phils over this recent stretch.

Williams will move up to the fifth spot today while Franco will remain in the clean-up spot.

The Phils will face Brewers righty Junior Guerra this afternoon. The veteran righty comes in sporting a 1-3 record with a 4.77 ERA. He's coming off a no-decision in Pittsburgh last week when he tossed 5 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on three hits in an eventual Milwaukee loss. It tied for his second longest start of the season and he's only gone as deep as six innings this year. Sunday will mark Guerra's second career start vs. the Phils. He earned a win over them last June when allowed just three runs on three hits in six innings in a 6-3 Brew Crew win.

The Phillies will counter with Jerad Eickhoff, who's struggled to a 1-7 record and a 4.83 ERA this season. He's coming off a no-decision last week in Miami when he gave up five runs on five hits over six innings. He did punch out eight Marlins, though. It was his second start back from a DL stint caused by a back injury. In his two starts since returning to the Phils, Eickhoff has 16 strikeouts in 11 innings. He had 16 strikeouts in his previous five starts combined.

Both team's lineups for Sunday's series finale at Citizens Bank Park can be found below:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Howie Kendrick, LF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Nick Williams, RF
6. Odubel Herrera CF
7. Tommy Joseph, 1B
8. Andrew Knapp, 2B
9. Jerad Eickhoff, SP

1. Jonathan Villar, 2B
2. Eric Thames, 1B
3. Ryan Bruan, LF
4. Travis Shaw, 3B
5. Domingo Santana, RF
6. Manny Pina, C
7. Brett Phillips, CF
8. Orlando Arcia, SS
9. Junior Guerra, SP

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Brewers 2

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Brewers 2


MILWAUKEE -- The Phillies gave the NL Central-leading Brewers a taste of their own medicine Sunday, avoiding a second-half-opening sweep when Nick Williams belted his first career grand slam in a 5-2 victory at Miller Park.

Starting pitching report
Jeremy Hellickson (6-5) earned his first victory since May 19 by holding the Brewers to a pair of runs on four hits and a walk while striking out six over five innings of work. 

He hadn't taken a decision in his last four starts, but including Sunday's effort, has a 3.28 ERA in his last 30 1/3 innings of work. 

Save for an eight-run outburst in the second inning Friday night, Philadelphia's starters had a good series against Milwaukee, which began the second half with the fourth-most runs in the National League.

Bullpen report
Nothing to see here, just another scoreless outing from right-hander Pat Neshek, who hasn't allowed a run in 38 of his 40 outings this season, including his last five in a row.

He was one of four relievers to combine for four shutout innings against the Brewers, who made some noise by putting runners at the corners with two outs in the eighth against Luis Garcia, but he maintained the three-run lead by getting Travis Shaw on a fly out to left, ending the threat. 

Hector Neris brought the tying run to the plate by putting two on to start the ninth but retired the next three in a row to lock down his eighth save of the year.

At the plate
Odubel Herrera moved into the leadoff spot after going 3 for 7 with two home runs and three RBIs in the first two games of the series.

He came up big again Sunday, picking up a pair of hits including an RBI ground-rule double in the fifth that gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.

Williams also had two hits, highlighted by his go-ahead blast in the fourth inning — his second home run of the season and the third grand slam of the year by a Phillies' batter.

Up next
The Phillies travel to Miami where RHP Tom Koehler (1-4, 8.00 ERA) and the Marlins await for a three-game series. Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (1-7, 4.63 ERA), who snapped a 14-start winless streak his last time out, gets the start for the Phillies.

Phillies-Brewers 5 things: Time to impress as trade deadline nears

Phillies-Brewers 5 things: Time to impress as trade deadline nears

Phillies (29-58) at Brewers (50-41)
8:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on and the NBC Sports App

After a first half to forget, the Phillies return to action after the All-Star break tonight in Milwaukee vs. the surprising first-place Brewers. Here are five things to look for in tonight’s 8:10 start.

1. Something to play for
In a word, the Phillies’ first half of the season was a disaster. Key players once considered building blocks took major steps backward and trade candidates have either floundered or gotten injured. Add that up and you get the 2017 Phillies, MLB’s worst team.

But, starting tonight, there are still reasons to watch. The trade deadline is just two weeks away (July 31) and the Phillies, despite their shortcomings, have some interesting pieces to sell. Pat Neshek will be dealt. Tommy Joseph’s future is in doubt. Jeremy Hellickson has been on the cusp of being dealt for over a year now, but has come back to earth after a standout 2016 season. With just two or three starts remaining before the deadline, Hellickson will have to regain his 2016 form if the Phillies want to get anything of serious value for the righty. 

With two weeks to go, it’s time for the Phillies’ trade candidates to play their way onto a contender's radar. These may be small moves coming, but sometimes the minor moves pay off.

2. Pivetta's payoff
Looking for proof? How about tonight’s pitcher Nick Pivetta. The Phillies acquired the righty in the trade that offloaded Jonathan Papelbon to the Nationals in 2015. Then a 22-year-old in Double A, Pivetta had an up-and-down start to his minor league career, despite being ranked the Nats’ 10th-best prospect by Baseball America.

Flash forward to now, and Pivetta has arguably been the Phillies’ best pitcher outside of Aaron Nola since returning from the minors in early June. That’s not saying much, but he has shown that he can be a reliable big-league pitcher.

Since returning from the minors on June 5, Pivetta has lowered his ERA by more than half a run (4.73) while going much deeper in games, with four of his last five starts going at least six innings. Pivetta has been overpowering hitters with his fastball that tops out at 96 mph, averaging seven strikeouts per game in his last five. Which bodes well for Pivetta vs. the Brewers, who lead MLB with 874 strikeouts on the year.

3. Brew Crew who?
Despite the astronomical number of strikeouts, the Brewers have come out of nowhere to hold the NL Central lead at the season’s midpoint, 5.5 games ahead of the hungover Cubs. 

Nothing the Brewers do jumps out at you. They’re simply an all-around sound team. Milwaukee boasts the eighth-best team ERA in MLB, have scored the sixth-most runs in the league while clobbering the second-most homers and stealing (138) and stealing the third-most bases (75). For comparison, the Phillies have 89 homers and just 35 stolen bases on the year.

The Brewers have seven qualified regulars hitting .259 or better. The Phillies have just two, and one of them is Cesar Hernandez, who hasn’t played in over a month.

4. Players to watch
Tommy Joseph’s time with the Phillies could be coming to an end with Rhys Hoskins ready to make the jump to the show. If so, Joseph has nailed his audition so far. In 34 July at-bats, Joseph is hitting .294 with five runs scored, two homers, five RBIs and just six strikeouts.

Brewers: After two years in Boston, Travis Shaw is blossoming in his first year with the Brew Crew. Hitting .299 with 19 homers and 65 RBIs, Shaw is on pace to demolish his combined numbers from his first two seasons in MLB. And to think, the Red Sox kept Pablo Sandoval instead.

5. This and that
• Zach Davies gets the start for the Brewers in Game 1. Now in his second full season, Davies has struggled a bit, posting a career-high 4.90 ERA, while allowing 10.4 hits per nine innings. Davies has allowed 15 homers in 18 starts.

• Despite the poor numbers, Davies is 10-4 on the year. To compare, Aaron Nola leads the Phillies in wins at 6-6, but has a much better 3.59 ERA.

• The Brewers have nearly as many home wins (26) as the Phillies do total on the season (29).