Phillies Schedule

Much-needed day off for Phillies before last year's nemeses get to town

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The Phillies are off Thursday, then welcome to town the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team that ended their hopes last fall.

It's their first meeting since Game 7 of the 2023 NLCS, the second of two straight nights the Phillies were upset at home in a stunning collapse that rivals some of the biggest in franchise history.

The entire clubhouse felt it was destined for a second straight World Series appearance before the bats went cold in the final two games in a venue where they felt they couldn't lose.

Even hungrier and deeper this season, the Phillies have roared to a 49-25 record with the midpoint a week away. The Diamondbacks, who lost the World Series to the Texas Rangers in five games, have disappointed thus far with a 36-38 record.

The clearest difference has been Corbin Carroll. He was the NL Rookie of Year and finished fifth in MVP voting last season as a 22-year-old when he hit .285/.362/.506 with 25 home runs, a league-leading 10 triples and 54 stolen bases.

He's hit just .218/.310/.321 this season with two homers. These last two weeks have been his hottest of the season (15-for-42 with nine walks) and the Diamondbacks have played much better as a result. They're 14-5 in June and had won four of five entering their series finale Thursday in Washington.

It's a premium matchup this weekend with interesting storylines — two of the three games are nationally televised — though some of the participants have changed. The Phillies won't face Brandon Pfaadt or Merrill Kelly, who were so instrumental in the NLCS. They're tentatively set to face lefty Jordan Montgomery (6.00 ERA, 1.63 WHIP) on Saturday and right-hander Slade Cecconi on Sunday. Friday is TBD.

The Phils will pitch Taijuan Walker, Zack Wheeler and Cristopher Sanchez.

"It's just another series," manager Rob Thomson said Wednesday when asked if he thought some players had it circled. "It's a new year. We've just got to keep winning series."

They took two of three from the Padres to improve to 29-11 at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies had a .605 winning percentage at home a season ago and are at .725 this year. They'll play 22 more games before the All-Star break with 13 at home. They don't have a game west of Minnesota until August and have just one West Coast trip the rest of the season. The travel has been heavy, but most of the hard stuff is out of the way.

"Just relaxing and getting off my feet for a bit," Bryson Stott said of what he was looking forward to Thursday.

"I think it's well deserved for everybody, really," Thomson said. "It was good to get back on the winning side of a series. Difficult loss today but we won the series and hopefully that's a trend."

The Phillies enter the weekend with a seven-game lead over the Braves, who have won six of seven to make up three games of ground in a week. They finally see each other again July 5-7 in Atlanta. The Braves will look much different without Ronald Acuña Jr., Spencer Strider and potentially Michael Harris II, who suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain over the weekend.

The Phillies have the D-backs, Tigers, Marlins and Cubs in between, with Arizona and Chicago the only two National League teams they haven’t faced through 74 games.

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