Jake Arrieta and Gio Gonzalez should be happy to see the calendar flip to July.
They’ll hope to put a rough June behind them when they face off Sunday in the finale of a four-game set between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals. The Phillies will try to win the series in the 1:35 p.m. matinee.
Arrieta (5-6 Tim Heed Jersey , 3.54 ERA) had a 6.66 ERA in five June starts. Opponents hit .305 with a .907 OPS against him in the month, and the veteran right-hander allowed at least three earned runs in each outing.
In his last start, Arrieta gave up six runs (three earned) in five innings against the New York Yankees on nine hits, two of which were homers.
“The ball is getting hit, that’s it. Making mistakes, too many mistakes,” Arrieta told MLB.com after the start. “I was throwing quality breaking balls early in the count and then when I needed to go back to a similar spot or a little bit lower in the strike zone or out of the strike zone, I just put it too much in the zone and they hit it. It’s a pretty simple explanation.”
Arrieta had a 0.90 ERA in five starts during May, and he gave up just one run and two hits in six innings against the Nationals on May 6. Arrieta is 1-2 with a 5.02 ERA in 10 career starts against the Nationals.
Gonzalez (6-5 Tomas Hertl Jersey , 3.68) had an even worse June. The 32-year-old lefty had an 8.44 ERA in five starts during the month. In three of those outings, Gonzalez gave up at least four earned runs and failed to pitch more than four innings.
Gonzalez had his worst start of 2018 the last time he took the mound. He gave up six runs and walked five batters in one inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday.
“It wasn’t my night. I couldn’t get a strike,” Gonzalez, who missed the strike zone with 33 of his 62 pitches, told reporters after the outing. “Sometimes it happens. It’s part of the game.”
Gonzalez will be facing the Phillies for the 25th time in his 11-year big league career. He is 11-7 with a 2.60 ERA and 1.13 WHIP against the Nationals’ divisional rival. Gonzalez threw five scoreless innings against Philadelphia on May 4.
The Phillies, who are 5-4 against the Nationals this season, have won two of the first three games against their divisional foe in the series. At 44-37, they are two games ahead of Washington for second place in the National League East. The Phillies were 28-53 through 81 games a season ago.
The Phillies hope Odubel Herrera’s bat heats up. The center fielder homered in Saturday’s 3-2 victory after going 2-for-28 in his previous seven games. Herrera is hitting .286 on the season with 14 homers and 46 RBIs.
The Nationals, meanwhile Alex Pietrangelo Jersey Kids , went 9-16 in June and are 42-39 at the halfway mark of the season.
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco Giants will attempt to complete their winningest homestand since their 2012 championship season when they go for a series sweep against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday afternoon.
Right-handers Chris Stratton (8-5, 4.14 ERA) of the Giants and Jon Gray (7-7, 5.52) of the Rockies are scheduled to duel in a rematch of a May 19 meeting in San Francisco won by the Giants 9-4.
With hard-fought 3-2 and 1-0 victories in the first two games of the series, the Giants improved to 7-2 on their homestand, with one game remaining.
They haven’t had an eight-win homestand since September 2012.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy credited his pitchers, who have held the opposition to three or fewer runs in 10 of their last 13 games, including six of nine on the homestand.
“There’s a large sense of confidence here at home,” he said. “What’s impressive is the pitching here. It’s keeping us in the game.”
Stratton has given up three or fewer earned runs in seven straight starts. That streak includes the May 19 game against the Rockies, when one of the four runs he allowed was unearned.
The 27-year-old has faced the Rockies three times in his career Womens Alexander Steen Jersey , twice as a starter, and has gone 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA.
The guy who has given him the most trouble has been Charlie Blackmon, who has four hits, including a home run, in seven at-bats against Stratton.
Blackmon had one of the Rockies’ two hits in Wednesday’s loss.
Colorado finds itself in an offensive slump entering the series finale. The Rockies have lost four in a row, having totaled nine runs in those games.
This comes on the heels of having exploded for 37 runs in their previous four games, all wins.
Gray has faced the Giants twice this season, and hasn’t seen the fifth inning either time.
After giving up five runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings in the May 19 loss, he was roughed up at home for four runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings in a 7-4 defeat. He did not get a decision in the latter.
Gray has started five games in his career against the Giants Reggie Wayne Jersey , going 0-2 with a 5.24 ERA. Both losses came in San Francisco.
Gray has struggled this season with Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, the hero of Wednesday’s win with the third walk-off home run of his career. Crawford has a double and two singles in four at-bats against Gray this season.
Andrew McCutchen also has scorched the 26-year-old in the past, going 7-for-12 with two doubles.
The Giants reached the midpoint of their season with a 42-39 record Wednesday night. That’s a 12-game improvement over last season, when they were already 22 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West.
The Rockies will play their 81st game Thursday. They had 47 wins at the midpoint of the 2017 season, nine more than they have this year.