Well folks if the MLB season ended last night, both these teams would advance as winners of their Divisions. They almost share an identical record, as the Phillies lead the N.L. East (55-43) and the Dodgers lead the West (55-44). The Dodgers started slow but are hot as a firecracker after that very bad start. The Phillies have been consistent all season and lead the second place Atlanta Braves by 1 full game. The Dodgers lead second place Arizona by 1 1/2 games.

The Dodgers made a huge splash this week adding superstar Manny Machado. It came at a good time as they just lost stud 3B Justin Turner to injury.

The Dodgers lead the Phillies in every hitting category, but the Phillies just keep scrapping and will likely add a key piece here before the Trade deadline.

Tonight we get to see two of MLB brightest young Pitching stars. Thanks to injuries to both staffs, both are now key figures in how both pan out ahead the rest of the season.

First let’s look at the Dodgers Righty Ross Stripling. He is (8-2) and has a fantastic (2.08) ERA with 108K’s as well. He has good stuff and is really mixing pitches well for a young guy. He hasn’t started though since (7/12), although he did pitch in the All Star game. His last start he went 6 innings, allowing 6 hits and 0 earned runs. He’s allowed only 9 hits and that one earned run his last 12 innings pitched with 12 K’s and 1 walk.

On the Road this year his ERA is even better then his great overall, with a (1.81) ERA and 52K-7walks.

He faced Philly earlier this season, going 7 innings and allowing only 4 hits and 1 earned run (on a homer). He had 9 K’s and walked two in an (8-2) win.

His opponent on the Hill for the Phillies tonight is young righty Zach Eflin. He has been a huge shot in the arm to the Phils staff, that has had some key injuries. He is (7-2) with a (3.15) ERA and 67K’s. He did lose that same game (8-2) in May to the Dodgers/Stripling. He lasted only 4 innings, allowing 5 earned runs on 7 hits. His last start was 2 wees ago before the All Star break, going 5 innings and allowing 3 earned runs. It’s the most earned runs he’s allowed in his past 8 starts overall. In the other 7 starts he allowed 2 earned runs or fewer. The Phillies are (6-1) in Eflins past 7 starts.

Eflin has though beaten 3 Playoff caliber teams his prior 3 starts, the Yankees (3-0), the Nationals (12-2), and the Brewers (4-1). He allowed only 3 earned runs in those 3 starts combined.

The Phillies Pitching staff has allowed 10 runs in 2 of it’s past 4 games.



This will be the final time Dodgers Chase Utley, and former Phillies superstar for over a decade, plays at his old stomping grounds, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia

.**Chase Utley on the love Philadelphia has showed him for a decade and a half: “It’s something I’ll never forget. It still gives me chills thinking about it.”

Being a longtime Phillies ticket holder and longtime fan of Utley, I wish I was there in town to catch one of these final 3 games he plays there. The ovations he gets will be loud and long as he was one of the hardest working and talented players ever to don a Phillies uniform.

This is a big test Series for the young Phils club as they face a very talented and seasoned veteran Playoff bunch in the Dodgers. A Series win here by the Phillies will really boost their confidence for the final 2+ month stretch ahead.

I always wait out a start for guys off a much longer layoff then close to their normal 5 day rotation schedule. If they pitch like that have most of season, this game likely a lower scoring game. Edge to Stripling as he’s really been dead on target his past few starts.