*** 2018 WORLD SERIES opens on Tuesday night *** RED SOX host DODGERS for Game One & Two at Fenway Park on Tues & Weds 8:09PM EDT - TV coverage by FOX *** Games Three, Four, and Five (if necc) on Fri-Sat-Sun at Dodger Stadium

Friday, August 10, 2018

Swept by Padres a year ago, Phillies return to Petco Park in first place

Host Padres swept the Phillies a year ago at this time
The Philadelphia Phillies will open a three-game weekend series with the San Diego Padres on Friday night. 
It will be important for them to recall what happened on their last visit to Petco Park last August and ensure that the same results do not repeat.
A year ago, at this same time, the Phillies were swept out of San Diego. The host Padres captured the three games by an 18-8 combined score.
That 2017 series between these two ball clubs held little importance. The Phillies were 30 games below the .500 mark and buried in last place in the NL East. The Padres were 14 under .500, in fourth place out in the NL West, and buried 14 games out of the Wildcard race.
But this year there is something at stake. The Phillies have completely flipped the standings from a year ago and are now in first place. 
They hold a one-game lead on the Atlanta Braves, who will host the Milwaukee Brewers in a game that should be nearly over by the time the Phillies game gets underway. The Phillies and Braves are actually tied in the all-important loss column.
The Phillies are coming off a series defeat after dropping two of three at Arizona to the host Diamondbacks. Going back over the last couple of weeks, the Phillies have roller-coastered their way to a 6-6 record.
Manager Gabe Kapler was quoted by Bob Nightengale of USA Today on Wednesday in Arizona on the team’s ability to step up when they have been challenged this season.
“One of the characteristics of this team is that we know how to take a punch. We get knocked down, but we pop right back up. [Expletive] days happen. You don’t get bent out of shape. … These guys know how to stay calm even when a storm is happening around us.’’
The Phillies didn’t get punched hard in Arizona, but they did take a couple of hard shots. The bullpen blew what should have been a victory on Monday night. The offense was completely handcuffed by Patrick Corbin and two relievers on Wednesday.
It will be important to demonstrate once again that they can pop right back up. They don’t want to lose this series to a last place team. Not if they want to be taken seriously as a division championship contender.

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