The Philadelphia Phillies will be looking to continue their recent surge under interim manager Rob Thomson when they open a three-game series Tuesday against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Right-hander Jason Alexander (0-0, 2.57 ERA) makes his second big league start for Milwaukee, while left-hander Ranger Suarez (4-3, 4.69) gets the nod for Philadelphia.
Both Philadelphia, which swept the Angels over the weekend under Thomson after Joe Girardi was fired, and Milwaukee were off Monday.
Philadelphia rallied past the Angels 9-7 on Sunday on a game-tying grand slam by Bryce Harper in the eighth inning and Bryson Stott’s three-run walk-off homer. The Phillies scored 26 runs in the three games.
“The energy level was just so high in the dugout. The guys were like, ‘We can do this, we can do this, we can do this,’ and they did,” Thomson said. “I thought, although we didn’t play as well defensively today, I thought the first two games we really played well defensively and, obviously, we swung the bats very well this weekend.”
Milwaukee, which leads the NL Central by a half-game over St. Louis, is coming off a tough offensive series against San Diego, ending a stretch of 18 games in 17 days. After rallying to win the opener 5-4 with four runs in the ninth, the Brewers were shut out in each of the next two games. They dropped the finale 6-4 in 10 innings, but Kolten Wong accounted for the first three runs with a pair of homers.
“We don’t have enough guys swinging the bat well right now,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Or, we’re not getting that next hit to move the line along.”
The banged-up Brewers are poised to get a couple of key regulars back. Shortstop Willy Adames, on the injured list with a high ankle sprain suffered May 15, was back in Milwaukee over the weekend after a rehab stint and is expected to be activated Tuesday. Outfielder Hunter Renfroe, on the IL with a right hamstring strain, also could be available Tuesday. Luis Urias, who moved from third to short in Adames’ absence and who has not played since leaving Friday’s game with a bruised right thumb, also should be ready.
“We’re getting healthier, yes,” Counsell said. “We’re going to take (off) through the off day and make sure everything goes well and then we’ll see what that brings.”
Alexander, called up from Triple-A Nashville with starters Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff on the IL, was solid in his debut last Wednesday against the Cubs, allowing three runs — two earned — on seven hits in seven innings.
Suarez has not won in three starts since his last victory on May 14. He has given up 10 runs on 16 hits with nine walks in 11 2/3 innings over that span, not lasting longer than 4 1/3 in any of those starts.
Suarez has faced Milwaukee once this season, allowing one run on four hits in 4 2/3 innings on April 22, but he did not get the decision when the Phillies rallied for a 4-2 victory at home with three runs in the eighth.
Brewers closer Josh Hader, who did not get a save opportunity against the Padres, tossed a scoreless ninth with the game tied on Saturday, giving him 40 consecutive scoreless appearances dating to last season and tying the major league record set by Houston’s Ryan Pressly n 2018.
Counsell is also one victory away from tying Phil Garner for the most wins in franchise history. Counsell, in his eighth season, is 562-502, while Garner was 563-617 in eight seasons at the helm.
–Field Level Media