Friday, April 29, 2016
Series Preview: Indians at Phillies
If this isn't the highpoint of the season, this is going to be a better year than anyone anticipated. Twenty-two games into the season, the Phillies sit at 12-10 as they come off a sweep of Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals. They even touched up Jonathan Papelbon en route.
It was a glorious series that reminded you how fun baseball can be when you beat a rival.
Now the Phillies get to battle Terry Francona's 10-9 Cleveland Indians.
Friday, April 29, 7:05
Saturday, April 30, 7:05
Sunday, May 1, 2:35
Corey Kluber (1-3, 4.67) vs Adam Morgan (0-0, ---)
Trevor Bauer (1-0, 4.76) vs Jerad Eickhoff (1-3, 4.07)
Danny Salazar (2-1, 2:35) vs Vincent Velasquez (3-1, 1.78)
What to know about the Indians
If mediocrity became a baseball team, it would be the the 2016 Cleveland Indians. There's a lot to like here and a lot to not like. There aren't really any holes in the lineup, but no one really stands out. They're getting their best production out of Marlon Byrd and Rajai Davis. That's not going to last. But Francisco Lindor and Jason Kipnis should start producing a bit more.
Aside from Danny Salazar, the pitching rotation is scuffling a bit and the bullpen has been an issue.
Trever Bauer is getting his first start of the year and it's coming against Vincent Velazquez. That will be interesting to see. He has been touched up for a 1.588 WHIP and a 4.76 ERA. The Phillies might not have a great offense, but this should be a spot where they can take advantage in the middle innings.
What we can't wait to see
Maikel Franco is hitting the ball pretty well. He's on a tear right now, hitting .316/.409/.526 with a homer and a double in his last five fames. He could do some damage against the Indians starters.
Big issue for the Phillies
The offense continues to struggle. It's 15th in on-base percentage, 13th in batting average and slugging percentage, ninth in homers and stolen bases. David Lough (.250/.321/.333) has been a big improvement over Cedric Hunter (.088/.139/.175), but the team still needs more production out of the corner outfield spots.