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Series Preview: Phillies at Rays, 9/25- 9/27

The Phillies enter the final weekend of the regular season clinging to postseason hopes as they travel to St. Petersburg to take on the American League East Division champion Rays in a three-game set.

Losers of six of their last 10 games, the Phillies urgently need wins in order to qualify for the expanded 16-team playoff format.  The enter the weekend 1/2 game behind Miami for second place in the National League East and they trail San Francisco by 1/2 game for the last NL Wild Card spot.   

Read ahead for a rundown of the pitching match ups and other key statistics for this series.


Friday, 6:40pm.  Vince Velasquez (1-1, 5.46 ERA) vs. Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.64 ERA).  Velasquez notched a win in his last outing against the Blue Jays, going six innings while allowing one earned run on two hits.  Velasquez is averaging 12.1 K/9 in eight appearances this season.  Velasquez has allowed eight earned runs in 8 2/3 innings on the road this season.  Since his first start of the season in which Morton allowed six earned runs over four innings of work, the former Phillie has tallied a 3.41 ERA.  In 24 career starts at Tropicana Field, Morton has posted a 3.24 ERA with a 1.09 WHIP.  Bryce Harper is 4-for-8 with a home run and four RBI in his career when facing the right-handed Morton.

Saturday, 7:07pm.  Zack Wheeler (4-1, 2.67 ERA) vs. Ryan Yarbrough (1-4, 3.78 ERA).  In four road starts this year, Wheeler has a 1-1 record with a 3.28 ERA.  Yarbrough, a lefty, has a 1-1 record and a 4.03 ERA in four home appearances this season.  Didi Gregorius is 1-for-7 in his career against Yarbrough.

Sunday, 3:10pm.  Aaron Nola (5-4, 3.06 ERA) vs. To be determined.  In five road appearances this season, Nola has posted a 2-3 record with a 3.86 ERA.  Hunter Renfroe is 3-for-7 with two doubles and two walks in his career against Nola.  Through his 11 starts, Nola is averaging 12.0 K/9 this season.  

First baseman Rhys Hoskins remains on the injured list with a left UCL strain.  It's possible he could return if the Phillies reach the postseason. In 41 games this year, Hoskins tallied a .245 average with 10 homers and 26 RBI.

In 24 road games this year, Andrew McCutchen sports a .300 average with four homers and 15 RBI.  McCutchen has a .455 average in nine career games against the Rays.

In 75 career games against the Rays, Gregorius has a .192 average.  In 25 road games, Gregorius has a .256/.316/.442 slash line.  

Rookie third baseman/first baseman Alec Bohm ranks first among National League rookies this year in batting average (.333) and RBI (22).  He also leads the NL in hits this month with 35. 

Second baseman Brandon Lowe leads the Rays in batting average (.274), home runs (14) and RBI (36).  The lefty hitter was the 3rd round draft selection of the Rays in 2015. 

With a .754 mark the Rays rank 13th in MLB in OPS.  At .791, the Phils are 6th in MLB with team OPS.  

The Phillies' 7.17 bullpen ERA ranks worst in the majors this year while the Rays' 3.50 mark is 4th best in MLB.

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