The Philadelphia Phillies will look for their second win in a row when they open a three-game series against the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.
The Phillies pounded five home runs in a 13-8 win over the Atlanta Braves on Monday to support winning pitcher Aaron Nola (1-1).
Philadelphia will hand the ball Tuesday to right-hander Zack Wheeler, who has been terrific with a 2-0 record and a 2.08 ERA. Wheeler, who has allowed three runs in 13 innings, holds a 1-0 mark and a 0.75 ERA in two career starts against the Orioles.
Wheeler has pointed to catcher J.T. Realmuto as a major reason for success. Wheeler said one of the biggest factors in signing with the Phillies as a free agent was the presence of Realmuto.
“Playing against him all these years, I was hoping that he was my catcher, and now he is,” Wheeler said. “That was a part of me coming over here. I love throwing to him. ...
“When guys do get on, you don’t have that thought in the back of your head about being slow to the plate because he’ll make up for it with his arm.”
Though the Braves scored seven runs in the ninth inning Monday, the Phillies had pulled away earlier behind five home runs, including a grand slam from Didi Gregorius. Bryce Harper, Realmuto, Roman Quinn and Jean Segura each homered as well.
Even though the bullpen has a 9.87 ERA, the Phillies remain confident.
“I like where we are right now,” Harper said.
The Orioles are off to a 7-7 start and will be searching for their third consecutive victory. That doesn’t include their Sunday game at Washington, which was suspended in the sixth inning with Baltimore ahead 5-2.
The Orioles will send oft-injured Alex Cobb to the mound. In three starts this season, Cobb has compiled a 1-1 record and a 2.51 ERA.
Conversely, Cobb was banged up last season and went 0-2 with a 10.95 ERA in three starts.
In Cobb’s career, he is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA against the Phillies.
“I’ve got a whole lot to prove,” Cobb said. “I’ve pitched one year out of this four-year deal, really. That one year didn’t go too well.”
If Cobb’s fourth start is anything like his first three, the Orioles will be thrilled.
“I definitely need to have some quality results here, for myself and for the organization that gave me such a great opportunity to be here,” he said.
In his last start, Cobb gave up two hits and one run in five innings during a 1-0 loss to the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. More than the statistics, manager Brandon Hyde was pleased with his mechanics.
“The split was real good, the split-change and guys were swinging over the top of it,” Hyde said.
The Orioles, who lost 108 games last season, must be considered one of the more surprising teams thus far.
“We’re almost a quarter of the way through, and I think it’s going to go by pretty fast,” Hyde said. “We are trying to take it game to game, game by game, series by series and just trying to keep these guys healthy and stay competitive for the rest of the summer.”
--Field Level Media
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.