Surging Phillies aim to stay hot in opener vs. Yankees

National Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees both face deficits in their respective divisions.

Philadelphia is closer to first place in the National League East than the Yankees are in the American League East, however. And the teams will look to continue making up ground Tuesday night when they start a two-game interleague series in New York.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi will appear in front of fans at Yankee Stadium for the first time in the opposing dugout since his contract was not renewed after getting New York to the AL Championship Series in 2017. He had a 10-season run as New York’s manager that included a World Series title in 2009.

Girardi and the Phillies visited the Bronx on Aug. 3, 2020, in front of no fans and piped-in noise.

Regardless of the attendance and any reaction to him, Girardi is presiding over an improving team. The Phillies are 10-4 this month after losing 10 of 15 games to end June.

During their current 14-game stretch, the Phillies have won six times by three runs or fewer. Three of those victories came during Philadelphia’s recent four-game series against the Miami Marlins.

J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning on Sunday to give the Phillies a 4-2 victory in the completion of a suspended game. He then went 3-for-5 with two RBIs in Philadelphia’s 7-4 win in the regularly scheduled game.

Realmuto’s recent big performances raised his average to .319 (15-for-47) in 12 games this month after he batted .227 (29-for-128) in his previous 36 games. It also helped the Phillies get within two games of the New York Mets and into second place in the division prior to Monday’s play.

“This is kind of what we envisioned for our team, so it’s kind of been a lot of fun to get together and get into a groove,” Realmuto said. “Winning all these series in a row, that’s how you get to the postseason, so we just have to keep it up.”

The Yankees are 7-3 in their past 10 games since allowing six runs in the seventh inning against the Mets in the first game of a doubleheader on July 4.

New York took two of three from the Boston Red Sox while having six players on the COVID-19 injured list, including Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela. After getting three hits in the series opener, the Yankees posted a 3-1 win Saturday and followed it up with a 9-1 victory the following night.

Gleyber Torres homered for the second straight game while Rougned Odor and Ryan LaMarre also went deep in a game in which the Yankees stole two bases in an inning and got a single on a drag bunt.

The past two wins put the Yankees seven games out of first place instead of 11 games behind heading into Monday’s action.

“It’s been a hard week,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Bottom line, it’s been a very hard week and I think we really played with a level of focus and energy. We lose the first game and it’s easy to be deflated and nobody was.”

Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.53 ERA) will get the nod to start his first game since July 6. He was placed on the COVID-19 injured list before his scheduled start at Boston on July 11 because he came into contact with teammate Alec Bohm, who tested positive.

“I felt fine,” Nola said. “I didn’t think I was around Bohm that much.”

Nola is 1-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees. On June 13 in Philadelphia, he struck out nine and allowed three hits over 7 2/3 innings in a 7-0 win.

Domingo German (4-5, 4.72) will make his first start since pitching three innings in an 11-8 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on June 30. He originally was slated to start Thursday against the Red Sox, but that game was postponed.

German has allowed five combined runs over six innings in a trio of relief appearances since his most recent start. He pitched a scoreless inning on Friday.

German is opposing Nola for the second time this season. He allowed season highs of seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings on June 13, marking the first of four straight starts he did not complete five innings.

German is 0-1 with an 11.81 ERA in two career appearances (one start) against Philadelphia.

–Field Level Media

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