Kenta Maeda v. Aaron Nola
The Dodgers riding a Machado wave
Manny Machado made an opening start to his Dodgers career in a win against the Brewers, returning two walks and two runs in a solid debut. It seems El Ministro had been dreaming of the city of LA for quite a while now, and as it never rained but pours, good things could only follow after LeBron brought his talents to the city of Angels. According to reports, Machado wears the number 8 in homage to his idol and Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, and would love to meet Bryant, alongside the Lakers’ new pearl LeBron James.
That win also allowed the Dodgers (55-44) to go top of the NL West, passing the Diamondbacks, and improved their record to 7-3 in their last 10. The Dodgers have been fairly consistent with their play, not giving up much in this month, except to city rivals, the Angels. This series against the Phillies cold see them tighten their grip on first place if the Diamondbacks slip to the Cubs.
Ross Stripling (8-2, 2.43 ERA) had the best win percentage of the first half of the season, at .800 and will look to continue his fine form in game one against the Phillies, while Kenta Maeda (7-5, 3.12 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for game two.
The Phillies (55-43) top the NL East in similar fashion, with almost identical records as the Dodgers. Running a 6-4 record in their last 10 before meeting the Dodgers on Monday, the Phillies are looking to hold steady after some shaky displays against the Marlins and Padres.
The Braves are may be faltering, but they are close on Philadelphia’s heels and will be looking to take any advantage the Phillies give them as the battle for top spot rages on.
Zac Eflin is not very far from the truth, 7-2 this year, with a 2-0 in three starts this month, means he comes into the first game with some confidence, but Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.30 ERA) is having the best pitching season of his career and will be looking to go for win 13 against the Dodgers. He’s had 24 strikeouts in his last three, going for atleast seven innings in his last two.
This one seems fairly balanced with two teams in similar form, though the Dodgers have a swagger about them.