Phillies embark on a big weekend test in Los Angeles with the Dodgers

Phillies visit the Dodgers
The Phillies open a west coast swing tonight in Los Angeles with a three-game set against the Dodgers. The two clubs enter the weekend as legitimate contenders to face off against each other in the postseason, each leading their respective division as the winningest teams in the National League.

The Dodgers, however, have a slight advantage this weekend as the home team - posting a 22-7 record this year at Dodger Stadium. The club also has won eight of its last ten contests and has a run differential of +82 on the season.

The Phillies, meanwhile, are coming off a solid series win over the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park and enter the weekend ten games over .500.

Look, it's lunacy to say a series during the first week of June is a must win, but a solid showing this weekend will go a long way in demonstrating the Phillies as a legitimate threat as the season nears the halfway point. The Dodgers have a strong offense, the best starting rotation in baseball, and field the ball extremely well.

“Great team,” Bryce Harper said this week of the Dodgers. “But we’re pretty dang good, too. It’ll be a good test for us but we know who we are in here.”

Cody Bellinger is murdering the baseball right now, hitting .377 on the season with 20 homers and 52 RBIs. He leads a potent lineup that also features Joc Pederson (.268, 16 HR, 30 RBI, Alex Verdugo (.322, 4 HR, 27 RBI) and Justin Turner (.306, 6 HR, 25 RBI). On the mound, the Dodgers will feature Kenta Maeda (6-2, 3.67), Clayton Kershaw (5-0, 3.46), and Rich Hill (1-1, 2.73) this weekend.

The Phillies counter with Jake Arrieta on Friday (5-4, 3.60), followed by Zach Eflin (5-5, 3.02) and Nick Pivetta (3-1, 7.71).

"To be the best you have to beat the best," Harper said. "We have to go out and show what we can do."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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