Phillies return home to Philly, host Reds for a three-game weekend set

Phillies welcome the Reds to CBP for a three-game set
It was a tough trip west, but the Phillies come back to Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Park riding back-to-back wins over the Padres to stretch their lead in the NL East to two games. The club welcomes the Reds for a three-game weekend set.

Tyler Mahle will make the start in the series opener for the Reds, fresh off holding the Nationals to three runs in five innings in a win earlier this week. He'll be opposed by Zach Eflin who returns to the rotation after missing his last start due to a back issue.

He's posted a 2.64 ERA over his last five starts but has struggled for his career against the Reds, surrendering 11 runs over 10 1/3 innings.

The Phillies enter play this weekend with a two-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Their 35 wins is tied with the Milwaukee Brewers for the second most in the NL, trailing only Los Angeles.

Three things to watch for this weekend:

Bruce vs. his old team
Jay Bruce has been on a tear since joining the Phillies, going 6-for-11 with three homers and seven RBIs over his first three games. Tonight will mark the sixth time in his career he's faced Cincinnati as he spent the first nine years of his career with the Reds. It'll also mark his first trip to Citizens Bank Park while wearing the home uniform.

With Andrew McCutchen out for the season and Odubel Herrera out indefinitely, Bruce will see action when the Phillies face a lefty or come off the bench in key pinch-hitting situations. All starters for the Reds this weekend are right-handers.

Can Pivetta remain hot?
Nick Pivetta pieced together his best start of the year on Sunday while the Phillies were out in Los Angeles. He scattered three hits and struck out nine over six innings. Since being recalled from Triple-A on May 28 he's posted a 2.45 ERA over 11 innings. He's also collected 15 strikeouts while issuing just two walks.

This was supposed to be a big year for Pivetta. Perhaps after hitting some obstacles to open the season, he's pitching now to match early expectations.

Return of David Bell
Over in the opposing dugout, you'll see David Bell calling the shots for the Reds. The former Phillies third baseman is in his first season as skipper of the Reds. Bell signed a four-year $17 million deal with the Phillies and hit .258 over his career in Philadelphia.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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