The visiting Philadelphia Phillies have produced a mountain of runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first three games of their four-game series.
Now, the Phillies will face a pitcher in his major-league debut in Sunday’s series finale.
The Dodgers will give right-hander Michael Grove the most challenging of opening acts against a Phillies offense that has 29 total runs in three consecutive victories. It’s the most runs the Phillies have scored in three straight games at Dodger Stadium and two off the record by any Los Angeles opponent.
If the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler and Julio Urias had trouble containing the Phillies’ offense over the previous two games, Grove would seem to be in a predicament. But Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is staying upbeat.
“He’s a competitor,” Roberts said. “It’s a fastball that’s in the mid-90s. It’s a 12-to-6 old-school curveball. There’s a changeup in there. … Good competitor. Good guy.”
Grove’s opportunity came about after Los Angeles left-hander Clayton Kershaw went on the injured list Friday with lower-back inflammation. Grove, a second-round draft pick in 2018, was 0-1 with a 2.76 ERA in five starts at Double-A Tulsa.
If he can deliver Sunday afternoon, when warm daytime temperatures tend to make Dodger Stadium play small, he can help the club out of its recent slide.
Los Angeles is on a season-long four-game losing streak and has dropped five of its past six games.
Many of the Phillies’ run producers delivered in Saturday’s 8-3 victory. Jean Segura, Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins hit home runs. It was the first time Urias ever allowed four home runs in a game.
Harper has gone 8-for-12 in the series, with seven extra-base hits. He has driven in eight runs. But he will not play Sunday after he receives a scheduled platelet-rich plasma injection in his right elbow to help mend a small ligament tear.
“You have to stay consistent, you have to stay having good at-bats with good approaches, and I thought we were able to do that (Saturday),” Harper said. “I thought we were able to do that the last couple of nights.
“That’s a great Dodgers team and a great pitching staff full of All-Stars, so as a team, collectively, I think we have done a great job of getting on guys early and battling the best we can.”
Segura’s three-run home run in the first inning Saturday, after he got a day off Friday, extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
“(Harper) is in a great spot, and it’s great to see,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “Obviously he’s so important to our offense, but we have other guys in good spots too, which is really helping out.”
The Phillies will send right-hander Aaron Nola (1-3, 3.83 ERA) to the mound Sunday. In his most recent outing Tuesday at Seattle, he gave up a pair of season highs with nine hits and five runs allowed. Four of the runs were earned. He hasn’t earned a victory since his season debut April 8.
In five career starts against the Dodgers, Nola is 2-0 with a 3.21 ERA.
In his lone start at Dodger Stadium in 2018, he gave up one run over seven innings and picked up the victory.
–Field Level Media