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Series Preview #35, @ Philadelphia Phillies

Arizona hits the road for the first time since the All-Star break, kicking off a six-game road trip against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Norm Hall

What's New?

After kicking off the season's second half with a three-game sweep of the Cubs, Arziona ran into some trouble in winning just one of three against Detroit. In the opener Diamondbacks starter Vidal Nuno dealt with trouble with the long ball early, giving up two early home runs as Detroit jumped out to an early lead in their 4-3 win. On Tuesday night Arizona got a strong performance from rookie Chase Anderson, who along with Miguel Montero's two-out, two RBI single led Arizona to a 5-4 win. The struggles returned for Trevor Cahill on Wednesday, as he gave up seven runs over four innings to give Detroit an easy 11-5 win. Arizona hits the road, where they are just 23-25 this season. Overall, they are 44-58, 13.5 games behind San Francisco for first place in the NL West. They are just one game behind San Diego for third place in the division.

Arizona's offense remains subpar, ranking 24th in wRC+ (90), 22nd in offensive WAR (9.5), and batting .255/.308/.391 as a ball club. A majority of their plate appearances result in balls in play, as despite having the ninth lowest strikeout rate in baseball (19.0%) they only walk a league-worst 6.4% of the time. When they do get the ball in play, they experience decent success in batting .300 (16th in the majors). The Diamondbacks pitching staff has posted a team ERA of 4.22 (26th), which when looking at FIP drops to 3.96 (21st). This staff tends to run into trouble when getting into jams and allowing runners on, leaving just 70.9% of runners on base (24th). They are also particularly vulnerable when giving up fly balls, as their HR/FB rate is second-highest in the majors (12.6%).

Philadelphia's offense just might be worse, as they rank 29th in wRC+ (83) and 28th in offensive WAR (4.1). They are batting .238/.300/.361, and have a wOBA of .293 (29th). Philadelphia is in the upper half of the league in strikeout rate, getting fanned 21.1% of the time (11th). They do suffer from a bit of bad luck, posting the third-lowest BABIP in the majors (.288). Their pitching staff remains below-average as well, posting the 22nd ranked team ERA (4.01) and FIP (3.97). They have the fifth-highest walk rate in the majors (3.32 BB/9), while only striking out 7.67 batters per nine innings.

The Phillies have lost the first three of four games at home against the Giants in their most recent series, going just 1-5 overall since coming back from the All-Star break. They've won just three of their last ten games overall, and are just 19-32 at home this season. They are 43-58 overall, 13 games behind Washington for first place in the NL East.

On The Mend

On Tuesday, the Diamondbacks placed outfielder Cody Ross on the 15-day disabled list with a left calf strain.

On Wednesday, the Phillies activated catcher Carlos Ruiz from the 15-day disabled list.

Roster Moves

After placing Cody Ross on the 15-day disabled list, the Arizona Diamondbacks recalled outfielder Alfredo Marte from Triple-A Reno on Tuesday.

Along with activating catcher Carlos Ruiz from the 15-day disabled list, the Phillies recalled right hander Phillippe Aumont from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In a resulting move, they optioned catcher Cameron Rupp to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and designated right hander Jeff Manship for assignment.

Projected Lineup

CF David Peralta (.325/.354/.481 with three home runs, 19 RBIs)

2B Aaron Hill (.251/.285/.381 with eight home runs, 48 RBIs)

1B Paul Goldschmidt (.310/.402/.558 with 18 home runs, 65 RBIs)

C Miguel Montero (263/.343/.410 with 11 home runs, 58 RBIs)

LF Mark Trumbo (.191/.239/.409 with seven home runs, 21 RBIs)

RF Gerardo Parra (.254/.300/.360 with six home runs, 30 RBIs)

3B Marteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen Prado

3B Martin Prado (.274/.319/.369 with four home runs, 37 RBIs)

SS Didi Gregorius (.232/.330/.404 with three home runs, 11 RBIs)

P Pitcher's spot

Pitching Matchups

Game 1, Friday 4:05 PT: LHP Wade Miley (6-6, 4.16 ERA, 3.96 FIP) vs. RHP Kyle Kendrick (4-10, 4.87 ERA, 4.57 FIP)

Miley has been stellar lately, going 3-0 with a 1.88 ERA in his last four starts. He gave up three runs on seven hits over six innings in his last start against the Cubs. He is 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA in ten starts on the road this season. Kendrick's biggest problems this season have coming early, as he owns a major league-high 10.80 first inning ERA. He has given up 18 runs in his last 16.1 innings, including giving up six runs over five innings against the Braves.

Game 2, Saturday 4:05 PT: RHP Josh Collmenter (8-5, 3.64 ERA, 3.99 FIP) vs. LHP Cliff Lee (4-5, 3.67 ERA, 2.87 FIP)

Collmenter has pitched well of late, giving up just one run on four hits over seven innings in a win against the Cubs in his last start. He's 2-3 with a 4.70 ERA in eight total appearances on the road. With trade rumors swirling, Lee struggled in giving up six runs on 12 hits over 5.2 innings against the Giants. Lee is 1-4 with a 2.83 ERA in six home starts this season.

Game 3, Sunday 10:35 PT: LHP Vidal Nuno (2-6, 5.13 ERA, 5.06 FIP) vs. RHP Roberto Hernandez, (4-8, 4.25 ERA, 4.87 FIP)

Nuno struggled with the long ball in his last outing, giving up three early runs to open the game up and give Detroit the 4-3 win. He has  a 3.87 ERA overall since joining the Diamondbacks with her three starts. Henrandez gave up just three runs over 5.2 innings in his last start, picking up the no decision. He is 1-5 with a 3.23 ERA in his 12 road appearances this season.

Series Pick'em

I think Arizona takes two out of three games. This first game in Philadelphia  should be a cakewalk for Wade Miley and Co. The second game is the ultimate toss-up, with two red-hot pitchers going strong against each other. The rubber match can be decided by the flip of a coin as well, with Nuno pitching much better in the National League and the offensive advantage Arizona should have.