A four-game sweep of the Nationals? Eye-catching, considering it happened on the road.
Three wins in a row over the Mets? Impressive, because it shifted the NL East standings.
But a three-game visit from the reigning World Series champions will represent the toughest test yet of the surging Phillies’ winning streak, now at eight games. And when the Dodgers get to town Tuesday night, they will have a familiar foe on the mound. Max Scherzer, a seven-year Phillies nemesis with Washington, will make his second start since being dealt to Los Angeles at the trade deadline.
The Phillies will get a few breaks, though. They won’t have to face Dodgers ace Walker Buehler, who improved to 12-2 with a victory Sunday over the Angels, or injured Clayton Kershaw. The teams squared off in June in Los Angeles, with the Dodgers taking two of three games.
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Is it possible that Bryce Harper is the MVP front-runner in the NL? I looked at the field, and it appears the Phillies’ star has a case.
If you missed Sunday’s ceremony to retire No. 34 in honor of Roy Halladay, here were the highlights.
The Phillies pursued Kyle Gibson in free agency two winters ago, but he signed with the Rangers instead. He had a good reason for choosing to go to Texas.
Could Andrew McCutchen return from the injured list this week? He seems to think so.
Tonight: Aaron Nola faces Scherzer in series opener, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Gibson vs. Dodgers’ David Price, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday: Phillies and Dodgers wrap up their series, 1:05 p.m.
Friday: The red-hot Reds visit Citizens Bank Park, 7:05 p.m.
Stat of the day
When Scherzer delivered six solid innings at Citizens Bank Park on the eve of the trade deadline to prove he was healthy, it seemed the Phillies were through with having to face him for a while.
Tuesday night will mark Scherzer’s 25th career start against the Phillies, more than any team except the Marlins (26). He’s 14-4 with a 2.55 ERA against the Phillies, including 13-3 with a 2.42 ERA in 22 starts for the Nationals after signing a seven-year, $210 million contract.
There have been some memorable duels, too. In 2019, Scherzer blanked the Phillies for seven innings in Washington despite a broken nose suffered in a batting-practice bunt mishap. And in June, he feuded with Joe Girardi after the Phillies manager called for umpires to check him for a sticky substance.
From the mailbag
Send questions by email or on Twitter @ScottLauber.
Question: Love Extra Innings. What are the Phillies thinking on getting Freddy Galvis? Jean Segura at second base, Didi Gregorius at short, Alec Bohm at third base — I don’t see any place for Galvis, do you? I think the Orioles need him more. Galvis is the Phillies’ past, not the future. — Bernie S., via email
Answer: Thanks, Bernie. Mainly the Phillies wanted Galvis to help improve their sieve-like defense on the left side of the infield. Even if he’s used primarily as a late-game replacement for Gregorius or Bohm, it won’t be an insignificant role.
There’s also some question about Gregorius’ health. Last week, he told me that he’s still dealing with fatigue from medicine he’s taking to treat pseudogout. When Galvis returns from the injured list, he could start at shortstop against left-handed pitchers and give Gregorius an occasional breather.