The scuffling Philadelphia Phillies will look to halt a three-game losing streak by sending their top prospect to the mound against the visiting Boston Red Sox on Saturday.
Chase Anderson had been slated to start against the Red Sox on Saturday, but he was shifted to the bullpen in favor of Spencer Howard.
The Phillies were routed 11-3 by the Red Sox Friday and looked bad in the process with 13 strikeouts and three errors. They have lost six of their past 10.
Enter Howard, who’s 0-0 with an 8.31 ERA in three appearances totaling 4 1/3 innings this season. Howard has never faced the Red Sox.
Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said that Howard, 24, would be limited to about 60 pitches.
“I guess there’s wiggle room,” Dombrowski said. “But I also don’t think, for example, he wouldn’t go out there and throw four innings tomorrow, five innings the next time, six innings the next time, seven innings the next time and keep going out there for seven innings. We don’t have that type of wiggle room with him. That would be way too many innings.”
Catcher J.T. Realmuto was placed on the injured list with a contusion at the base of his left hand. The move is retroactive to Tuesday, meaning Realmuto can’t return to the team until May 29 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Didi Gregorius is also on the injured list with a sore elbow.
Bryce Harper is hitless in his past 11 at-bats.
“Right now, he’s off,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said.
Defensively, the Phillies continued to struggle with three more costly errors on Friday.
“It’s frustrating. It’s really frustrating,” Girardi said. “I believe we’re better than what we’re playing. We work on it every day.”
The surging Red Sox will be searching for their third straight win in the middle game of this three-game series.
Danny Santana’s solo home run was one of 13 hits in the offensive explosion. He was called up Friday from Triple-A Worcester.
“I think the thing that he brings that we don’t have is speed,” Boston manager Alex Cora said of Santana. “We run the bases well, we pick and choose where we want to go and we’ve been pretty effective, but he can run. I think that’s a dimension that will add something to the equation. Offensively, we should be better. It creates more balance, it gives us more alternatives and we’re very happy he’s with us.”
J.D. Martinez had two hits and scored three runs while increasing his average to .335. Martinez stayed hot after ripping his 250th career home run on Thursday.
Martinez has hit 226 home runs since being released by the Houston Astros in 2013.
“He just works so hard at his craft, even on nights when quote-unquote he struggles, he’s one at-bat away from changing the game,” Cora said. “He was very upset with the strikeout the last at-bat. He thought the pitch was outside, and at the end it was a perfect pitch. After that, he went to the cage and kept working and got a pitch up in the zone, close to him, and he put a great swing.”
The Red Sox will hand the ball to Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 4.50 ERA), who is 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA in five career starts at Citizens Bank Park. For Eovaldi’s career against the Phillies, he’s 3-4 with a 3.36 ERA in 10 starts.
–Field Level Media