The Philadelphia Phillies will look to maintain their lead atop the NL East when they continue their four-game series with the Brewers on Tuesday night. After losing the series opener Monday 7-4, the Brewers are slight -110 favorites to win on Tuesday.
Just a few days ago, the Brewers were one of the hottest teams in baseball, racking up seven consecutive wins. But things have changed quickly, as Milwaukee has lost three in a row. Two of those three losses came at the hands of the Cubs, dropping them 2.5 games behind Chicago in the NL Central standings. The Brew Crew is now in the midst of another series against a division leader.
The Phillies have built a somewhat comfortable 3.5-game lead atop the NL East. After taking a series from the Royals over the weekend, Philadelphia has now won three in a row and five of its last six games. However, both the Braves and Mets remain within striking distance if they start to slip up.
Where’s This Guy Been?
Jerad Eickhoff will get the start for the Phils on Tuesday. Injuries hindered Eickhoff in 2018, and he actually started this season in triple-A. But since getting called up in mid-April, he’s been nothing short of brilliant, going 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA over four starts and one relief appearance. Last time out, Eickhoff threw eight shutout innings against the Cardinals, allowing just three hits. Opposing batters are hitting just .176 against him, so he’s kept hitters off balance.
Of course, Milwaukee’s lineup is no joke. It starts with Christian Yelich, who’s having another MVP-caliber season and is 4 for 13 with a home run and double in his career against Eickhoff. The rest of the Milwaukee lineup has cooled off recently, as the Brewers have just six runs over their last three games. But they have enough quality hitters to wake up at any time.
Bringing the Wood
Opposing the Phillies on Tuesday will be Milwaukee’s Brandon Woodruff. After being an important part of the bullpen late in 2018, Woodruff is off to a fine start in the Milwaukee rotation this season. Despite a modest 4.25 ERA, Woodruff is 5-1 in his eight starts. He certainly appears to have found his groove recently, going three straight starts in which he’s allowed just one run, totaling three runs in his last 16 innings of work.
Moreover, the current Phillies roster is just 2 for 20 in their careers against Woodruff. Of course, that stat could be a little misleading, as Philadelphia has one of the deepest and most balanced lineups in the National League. All eight of their regulars have an OPS over .700, so there are few weak spots in their lineup. Bryce Harper isn’t even the main concern at the moment. Cesar Hernandez, Odubell Herrera, Rhys Hoskins, and J.T. Realmuto are all in the middle of hot streaks at the moment.
It’s a little surprising to see the Brewers favored in this game given their three-game slump. The Phillies clearly have the hotter pitcher and the hotter lineup right now. With Philadelphia as the slight underdog at home, bet on the Phillies to beat the Brewers on Tuesday.