The visiting Philadelphia Phillies will send a new addition to the mound on Sunday night as they attempt to take the final three games of their four-game road series against the National League East-leading Atlanta Braves.
Right-hander Dylan Covey (0-0, 3.00 ERA), acquired on waivers from the LosAngeles Dodgers on May 20, will get his first start with the Phillies against Atlanta fireballer Spencer Strider (4-2, 2.97). Strider, who leads MLB with 97 strikeouts, never has lost to Philadelphia.
Covey did well in his first appearance for the Phillies on Tuesday against Arizona. He threw five innings in relief of opener Matt Strahm and allowed one run on five hits, one walk and six strikeouts. He got out of messes in the fourth and sixth innings without any damage done.
"He knuckled down when it mattered and got out of those innings," Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson said. "That could have gotten away from us right there. He showed a lot of toughness, poise. Got it done."
Covey never has faced the Braves.
Strider lost his past two decisions and allowed four runs in each of his two previous starts. In his most recent outing on Tuesday against the Dodgers, Strider pitched six innings and allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits, three walks and 11 strikeouts.
"Everybody gets away with a few mistakes a game and I didn't," Strider said.
Strider will be making his fifth career appearance, fourth start, against the Phillies. He has compiled a 4-0 record with a 1.27 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 21 1/3 innings against Philadelphia, all of them coming last year when he was runner-up in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
Strider has 10 double-digit strikeout games through his first 30 starts.
Philadelphia's Trea Turner had two hits on Saturday to lift his average to .248. He is hitting .315 (134-for-425) against the Braves in his career.
"I got a little out of whack," Turner said of his hitting to start the season. "It's felt better the last few days, hitting the ball and putting it in play. Some of it is facing good pitching. Sometimes you've just got to tip your cap. When you do get mistakes, you've got to capitalize and felt [I] did that. I definitely feel better. Got to keep it going every day. Keep grinding them out."
Phillies' Nick Castellanos had two more hits and is batting .462 (6-for-13) in the series with two runs driven in.
Atlanta's Sean Murphy had two hits, one of them a home run, on Saturday and extended his hitting streak to eight games. Murphy is hitting .348 (8-for-23) through the first six games of the seven-game homestand and .323 (10-for-31) during his hitting streak. Austin Riley had a double on Saturday and has hit safely in 10 straight games.
The Braves recalled right-hander Dereck Rodriguez and optioned left-hander Dylan Dodd to Triple-A Gwinnett. Atlanta claimed Rodriguez on waivers from Minnesota on May 15. In 54 career appearances (35 starts), Rodriguez is 12-16 with a 4.27 ERA.
--Field Level Media