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MLB: Flailing Phillies seeking offense in series vs. Red Sox

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Injuries and an offensive slump continue to plague the Philadelphia Phillies.

After dropping two of three to the Miami Marlins, the Phillies will look to regroup when they open a three-game series against the visiting Boston Red Sox on Friday.

The Phillies have scored one run in the last 18 innings. The Phillies struck out 15 times and dropped to .500 at 22-22 with Thursday’s 6-0 loss. Defensive miscues also continue to hurt the Phillies.

“We work on it every day,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said of fielding. “That’s what you have to do.”

The Phillies have clearly missed catcher J.T. Realmuto, who has sat out the last four games with a contusion at the base of his left hand. They’re also without shortstop Didi Gregorius, who remains on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Realmuto had a recent magnetic resonance imaging test that showed no structural damage. He could potentially play on Friday.

“It happened like three weeks ago in St. Louis,” Realmuto said. “I was able to play through it for a couple of weeks and then for whatever reason, when that COVID thing happened and I had to stay home for a few days, it really stiffened up on me. And when I came back against Toronto, it felt quite a bit worse than it did 10 days prior. So I just needed to shut it down for a few days.”

The Phillies will hand the ball to Aaron Nola, who’s 3-3 with a 3.64 earned run average. For Nola’s career against the Red Sox, he’s 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in three starts with 22 strikeouts and five walks.

“I thought he battled his tail-end off because he didn’t have his curveball tonight,” Girardi said after Nola allowed nine hits and three runs in 6 2/3 innings in his last start against the Blue Jays. “His stuff, he did not have his A-stuff, but he found a way to keep us in that game, and unfortunately we weren’t able to score.”

The American League East-leading Red Sox will enter this series having won two of three over the Blue Jays, including a come-from-behind 8-7 victory on Thursday.

“Not too many people thought we would be in first place for X amount of days during the season,” manager Alex Cora said. “That’s for other people to think about.”

Martin Perez will take the mound for his ninth start for the Red Sox. Perez (1-2, 3.40 ERA) was terrific in his last start, going six shutout innings with three hits, five strikeouts and four walks.

For Perez’s career against the Phillies, he’s 1-0 with a 3.98 ERA in four games, three starts.

“I think today everything came together,” Perez said after his last outing. “Me, the guys hit the ball good, and like I said to you guys before, my last game here, good things are coming and now we see it. Just need to stay focused and do what we’ve been doing. We’re playing good baseball and the game before, I didn’t have the support, but I’m here just to go out there and compete and give a chance for my team to win.

“I’m not here to win 30 games. I’m here to help the team to make the playoffs. That’s my goal,” Perez added.

The Red Sox have received a major defensive lift from outfielder Hunter Renfroe, who has already recorded five outfield assists.

“I hope so. I take a lot of pride in my defense,” Renfroe said. “Always have. Always look forward to getting better.”

–Field Level Media

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