Red-hot Phillies target two wins against Red Sox in DH

MLB

The Philadelphia Phillies will look to stay hot at home when they host the Boston Red Sox for a doubleheader on Tuesday.

The Phillies completed a four-game road trip against the New York Mets with a wild 9-8 win in 10 innings on Monday to split the series.

Philadelphia — which will enter the doubleheader with a 20-17 record — holds a 14-9 mark at home. The Phillies have turned their season around by winning 11 of their past 14 games, leaving them two games behind first-place Atlanta in the National League East.

The Phillies are expected to send Zach Eflin to the mound in the first game and Vince Velasquez in the second game.

Eflin is 2-1 with a 4.45 ERA in six starts and this will be his second career start against the Red Sox. The first came on Aug. 18 at Fenway Park as Eflin lasted just four innings, giving up four runs, in an eventual 13-6 Phillies win.

Velasquez began the season as a starter but struggled and was sent to the bullpen. He is 0-0 with a 6.60 ERA in five appearances (three starts).

In two career starts against the Red Sox, Velasquez is 1-0 with a 6.48 ERA.

“I’m thoroughly excited,” Velasquez said of starting again. “We’re in the race right behind the Braves and we’re fighting for that spot. It’s crunch time right now, so any opportunity I’m definitely going to take advantage of.”

The Phillies received four hits and a career-high five RBIs from Jean Segura in Monday’s back-and-forth victory over the Mets. The Phillies blew an early 6-0 lead but were rescued by Segura’s game-winning two-run homer in the 10th inning.

The production was needed with injuries piling up. Jay Bruce (quad) and Roman Quinn (concussion) were both injured in Saturday’s game are on the injured list and unavailable. But the Phillies have depth and versatile players, such as left-handed hitting outfielder Adam Haseley, who can step in.

“It’s just the way it’s been going this year,” Haseley said of the number of injuries. “Throughout my career, I’ve played against lefties or righties. I know in the minors you’re trying to develop and stuff like that, but I’ve always felt comfortable at the plate, whether it’s left or right.”

The struggling Red Sox will begin the doubleheader with a 14-28 record and in last place in the American League East. The Red Sox are also 6-11 on the road.

The Red Sox are expected to hand the ball to Martin Perez for his ninth start of the season in the first game. It’s unclear who will start in the second game, though one possibility is right-hander Nick Pivetta. Before the trade deadline, Pivetta (0-0, 15.88 ERA) was acquired from the Phillies.

Perez is 2-4 with a 4.07 ERA and tossed a no-hitter for six innings in his last outing against the Toronto Blue Jays. Perez gave up only three hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings.

In Perez’s career, he’s 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA in three games, with two starts, against the Phillies.

“I was focused, man,” Perez said after his last start. “I didn’t really think I was throwing a no-hitter. I was just going pitch by pitch, one hitter at a time. That was a great performance by me.”

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said Perez’s outing was impressive.

“Outstanding. To have them hitless for that long was a great job,” Roenicke said. “He commanded the ball really well, his fastball hit both sides of the plate, his changeup was outstanding and the breaking ball was good. That little cutter he throws was good. He went right after them.”

Outfielder Alex Verdugo has been banged up, so having a day off before a doubleheader could pay dividends for the Red Sox. Roenicke expects Verdugo (.311, five home runs) to be available for both games.

“A little beat up from all the diving and sliding and all that,” Roenicke said. “Hopefully, he’ll be good to go in the doubleheader.”

–Field Level Media

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