MLB: Star-studded Dodgers, Phillies clash in matchup of title contenders

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The division-leading Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers will send a combined 13 players to next week’s All-Star Game, but first they will face off in a key three-game series starting Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Zack Wheeler (9-4, 2.74 ERA), one of the Phillies’ club-record seven All-Stars, will be on the mound for the opener. Wheeler will join Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, Alec Bohm, Ranger Suarez, Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm at the Midsummer Classic on July 16 in Arlington, Texas.

“It could be more than that,” Wheeler said of the Phillies’ All-Star contingent. “It shows how well we’ve been playing as a group. Everybody on the roster is a part of every game and winning.”

In Wheeler’s last start against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, the right-hander allowed five hits and two runs over six innings in a no-decision.

Wheeler is 2-2 with a 4.72 ERA in six career starts against the Dodgers.

The Phillies will look for a bounce-back performance after a 6-0 road loss against the Atlanta Braves, who trimmed the Phillies’ National League East lead to eight games.

Whit Merrifield had two hits but the Phillies managed only five overall.

The Phillies should receive major boosts with the returns of Harper (strained left hamstring) and Kyle Schwarber (strained left groin) from the 10-day injured list in time for Tuesday. Harper ran the bases before Sunday’s game at about 100 percent intensity and didn’t experience any setbacks, saying he felt good.

Schwarber also ran the bases and manager Rob Thomson had intimated that the veteran slugger was expected to be activated on Tuesday. In corresponding moves, the Phillies optioned infielder Kody Clemens to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and designated outfielder David Dahl for assignment.

The Dodgers will arrive in Philadelphia having won two of three against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

However, the Dodgers fell flat on Sunday and lost 9-2.

Chris Taylor hit a two-run home run to provide the Dodgers’ offense. The team went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 11 on base.

Shohei Ohtani, one of six Dodgers’ All-Stars, stole two bases and has 28 home runs and 20 stolen bases this year. Ohtani joins Davey Lopes (1979) and Matt Kemp (2011) as the only Dodgers to accumulate at least 20 homers and 20 steals before the All-Star break.

Los Angeles’ other All-Stars are Will Smith, Teoscar Hernandez, Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Tyler Glasnow.

Betts is on the injured list with a fractured left hand and will miss this series and the All-Star Game.

“I think there’s six of us, that’s pretty special,” Freeman said. “When you’ve got over 20 percent of your team going to an All-Star Game, that means you’ve got a pretty good team. So it’s going to be fun. Great group of guys.”

Despite missing Betts, the Dodgers entered Monday with a 7 1/2-game cushion in the NL West.

“I think we’ve done a nice job of sort of trying to weather it and still winning baseball games,” manager Dave Roberts said. “We won a series against a good ballclub over there.”

The Dodgers will hand the ball to Bobby Miller (1-1, 6.12). In a no-decision against the Arizona Diamondbacks last Tuesday, the right-hander gave up four hits and two runs in five innings. He struck out four and walked three.

Miller is 1-0 in one career start against the Phillies, tossing six scoreless innings on June 10, 2023.

–Field Level Media

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