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Phillies ‘pen needs to step up against streaking Orioles

A three-game winning streak has the upstart Baltimore Orioles riding high, while an extremely generous bullpen has the Philadelphia Phillies down in the dumps.

The Orioles aim to continue their ascent at the Phillies’ expense on Wednesday when they play the second contest of a three-game series in Philadelphia.

Baltimore and Philadelphia traded unconventional blows during a wild series opener, with the former escaping with a 10-9 victory on Tuesday after Austin Hays’ two-run, inside-the-park homer led off the 10th inning.

Hays’ heroics came on the heels of a pair of Phillies’ comeback bids as well as a misplayed pop-up in the infield that resulted in two runs for the Orioles.

“It felt like a boxing match, honestly, from the eighth inning on,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “We gave a blow, we took a blow, we gave a blow, we took a blow. Who can get the last out? That was the feeling.”

The Phillies endured the familiar feeling of seeing the implosion of their bullpen, which is now taking shots from U.S. Representative Brendan Boyle over social media. Boyle, who represents Northeast Philadelphia, took to Twitter on Tuesday to blast the team as it once again fell apart during the latter innings.

“I’m introducing legislation in Congress to outlaw the @Phillies bullpen,” Boyle wrote.

Since Brad Lidge circa 2008 isn’t an option for Philadelphia, manager Joe Girardi elected to take a more diplomatic approach after Tuesday’s game.

“We have not pitched well as a bullpen,” Girardi said. “We’ve made some changes. We hope that it’s going to get better. It has to get better. That’s the bottom line.”

First things first, as Philadelphia right-hander Zach Eflin (0-0, 0.00 ERA), who will get the nod on Wednesday after walking away with a no-decision in his last outing. Eflin permitted two unearned runs on four hits in four innings against the New York Yankees on Thursday.

Eflin won his lone career start against Baltimore after yielding two runs on five hits in seven innings of a 3-2 victory on July 3, 2018.

The 26-year-old Eflin would be wise to keep a keen eye on Renato Nunez, who enters Wednesday’s encounter on a five-game hitting streak. He is 9-for-19 with three homers, seven RBIs and five runs scored during that stretch.

Anthony Santander is also riding a five-game hitting streak, going 8-for-21 with one homer, six RBIs and seven runs scored.

The offense belted out 16 hits in the opener for the Orioles, who are bidding to win their fourth consecutive contest for the first time since March 30-April 2, 2019.

Baltimore left-hander Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 6.91) will look for a better performance on Wednesday than his last outing, when he was blitzed for six runs on seven hits in 3 1/3 innings of a no-decision at Miami.

LeBlanc sports a 2-2 career record with a 2.89 ERA in eight appearances (three starts) versus Philadelphia. The 36-year-old has struggled against Bryce Harper (3-for-10, homer, three RBIs), although Jay Bruce has struck out five times in eight at-bats versus the hurler.

Harper belted his second homer in as many days on Tuesday, while Bruce went deep for the second time in four outings.

–Field Level Media

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