The Philadelphia Phillies were sleeping on Friday just like the Diamondbacks. The Phillies are in a similar position as Arizona, with a battle brewing in the NL East for the top spot in the division. The D-Backs and Dodgers are tied out west, while the Phillies and Braves are in a deadlock in the east. The Nationals, who were expected to be major players in the division are sitting there in 3rd behind by 5.5 games.
I feel like they’ve been stuck there for the past few weeks. The bats got hot around the trade deadline for the Nationals, but they are still too hold and cold. I think that burst was in due part to Bryce Harper getting put on the trading block. A message of sorts for Harper and company to wake up and get going. With a record of 59-57, the Nats still have a chance to stage a come from behind win in the NL East. They have to deal with not one but two teams ahead of them, though.
Banking on one team to collapse is reasonable, but looking for two is going to be a little more difficult. The Phillies hope they aren’t the team that falls back. They’ve made it this far already, might as well go for more at this point. The Phils have dropped two in a row and have gone just 1-3 in their last four contests. This is on the heels of a five-game winning streak, which included a win over the Red Sox and sweep of the Marlins. Aaron Nola will look for a strong performance for the Phils on Saturday. Nola has been one of the most underrated pitchers in baseball this season. He’s done a fine job steering this rotation and improving on his 3.54 ERA from 2017. The Padres will continue to evaluate rookie Walker Lockett as he gets his third start in the major leagues in this one. Head below for our free Phillies vs. Padres pick.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Diego Padres Pick
Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.37 ERA) vs. Walker Lockett (0-2, 9.28 ERA)
Nola has directed the Phillies to 8 wins in his last 10 starts. He has an overall record of 12-3 in 2018. He is a win away from a career-high in wins. Last season Nola finished with a record of 12-11. He hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs since a start in Milwaukee on June 17th. Nola has done an impressive job holding some quality offenses down recently.
Note that he surrendered 1 run to the best offense in baseball, the Red Sox, and then allowed 3 to a high-powered Dodgers team. He holds a 2.84 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in his previous three starts. Nola will take on a Padres team that is 27th in offense with 3.85 runs per game.
The Padres have been giving Walker Lockett spot appearances since June 1st against the Reds. He was immediately demoted right out of the gate after the Reds scored 4 runs on him in 3.2 innings. Then we seen Lockett come out of the bullpen against the Dodgers on July 9th. Again, it was rough as he allowed 4 hits and 2 runs in only 2 innings of work.
His last start came on August 4th against the Cubs. He gave up 9 hits and 5 earned runs in 5 innings. The audition hasn’t been going very well for Lockett, as it looks like he will find himself in the minor leagues in 2019. Barring he gets hot over the next couple of months, I think that’s a safe assertion. In all, Lockett enters Saturday with an ERA of 9.28, 2.34 WHIP, and .446 OBA. After getting shutout Friday, the Phils likely return today to lay into Lockett and capture a win by at least a couple of runs.