Three things to watch this weekend as Phillies close out the 2018 season

Phillies and Braves conclude the season at Citizens Bank Park
The torture comes to an end this weekend as the Phillies host the Braves at Citizens Bank Park to wrap up the 2018 season. What appeared at one point to be a successful season has crumbled into a mess with the Phillies winning just 15 of their last 48 games.

Here are three storylines to keep an eye on this weekend.

Jerad Eickhoff to start on Friday
Eickhoff will make his first start of the season in the series opener with Atlanta. He's missed the first five months of the season with a lat strain and made six minor-league rehab appearances before being cleared to return to Philadelphia, posting a 2.55 ERA across 24.2 innings over those outings.

Eickhoff has an opportunity to be a valuable piece for the Phillies in 2019. The 28-year-old right-hander has good enough stuff to be a mid-rotation starter, but health has always been an issue. It's likely he'll enter spring training with an opportunity to win a spot in the backend of the Phillies' rotation.

Aaron Nola in his final start
Nola has been outstanding for the Phillies, though he's hit a rough patch in September with a 4.60 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over five starts this month.

Nola undoubtedly enters 2019 as the Phillies' ace, plus he'll likely be considered as one of the top contenders entering the year for the NL Cy Young Award.

According to Fangraphs, Nola's 5.5 WAR is the fourth-best mark in Phillies' history dating back to 2000.

Reception on Sunday
Gabe Kapler has denied it, but fans on social media have argued the club has already thrown in the towel. It'll be interesting on Sunday to hear the reception Kapler and others receive. In particular, it'll be interesting to see what happens with Odubel Herrera as his lackluster behavior on the 0-8 road trip has particularly drawn the ire of fans on Twitter. He's hitting .177 this month and has made several gaffes in the field and on the base paths.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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