Phillies-Padres 5 Things: This Could Be a Great Week for Jerad Eickhoff

Phillies (43-72) at Padres (51-66)
10:10 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App

The Phillies are on the West Coast this week for seven games in two different pitcher-friendly ballparks. 

The teams they'll face this week, the Padres and Giants, are 15 and 25 games under .500.

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First up is San Diego, which has lost 8 of 11.

1. First knock out of the way
Rhys Hoskins picked up his first major-league hit and first RBI Sunday in his fourth game.

Hoskins started his major-league career 0 for 12, the longest hitless streak by a Phillie to begin his career since Chris Coste went 0 for 12 in 2006. Prior to that, you have to go all the way back to Lonnie Smith in 1978-79.

Hoskins admitted after Sunday's game that he pressed a bit during his first series in the majors and was over-aggressive when in hitter's counts.

He did also make a few hard outs against the Mets, and he worked a walk in three of the four games.

"There's not much you can do once the ball leaves the bat, so I thought I was having good at-bats for the most part," Hoskins said Sunday. "Some things weren't going my way, and these guys are pretty good up here, so it's a combination of that."

Petco Park and AT&T Park are not the most ideal venues for a power hitter to get going, but the Phillies do face four left-handed pitchers this week, which should be good for Hoskins.

2. The good and bad of Odubel
Odubel Herrera reached base three more times on Sunday via a single and two walks. He also made another boneheaded play on the basepaths. 

After the game, Phils manager Pete Mackanin said that despite the mistake, "he's more positive than negative and if you look back on the last six, seven weeks, he has not made many mistakes."

This should be common sense but it isn't for some Phillies fans who are quite frustrated with the lack of instincts Herrera sometimes shows. 

"I'll take him any day," Mackanin said, and for good reason. Since the All-Star break, Herrera is hitting .382/.452/.696 with 18 extra-base hits. The only National Leaguers with more extra-base hits in the second half are Giancarlo Stanton (23) and Chris Taylor (20).

The hot streak has lasted longer than a month, though.

In April and May, Herrera hit .218/.262/.326 with 15 extra-base hits in 50 games.

Since the beginning of June, he's hit .342/.388/.578 with 35 extra-base hits in 62 games.

As a result, Herrera right now has the highest slugging percentage (.465) and OPS (.797) of his three-year career.

3. Eickhoff's turn to get on a roll
With Aaron Nola on a historic streak of success, it's Jerad Eickhoff's turn to find a rhythm. Eickhoff has quietly been solid over his last four starts, lowering his ERA from 4.83 to 4.45. 

Over his last seven starts, Eickhoff is 3-0 with a 3.10 ERA. The major difference for him has been he's kept the ball in the yard, surrendering four homers over his last 40⅔ innings.

Eickhoff has avoided the longball in 10 of his 20 starts and has a good chance to do it twice more this week against two weak offenses in two spacious parks.

In 2015 and 2016, Eickhoff showed above-average control, walking just 2.0 batters per nine innings. This season, that number has jumped to 3.6, which is simply too high. From June 2 to Aug. 3, Eickhoff walked 25 batters in 47⅔ innings, putting himself in many precarious positions. His last time out, though, he had no walks for only the second time all season. Last year, he had 10 starts with no walks.

The Padres are not a patient team, which should again work in Eickhoff's favor. 

Active Friars are 7 for 35 (.200) off Eickhoff with one extra-base hit (a Ryan Schimpf homer), no walks and 11 strikeouts.

4. First of two hittable lefties
The Phillies face two mediocre southpaws in this series: Travis Wood tonight and Clayton Richard on Wednesday afternoon.

The 30-year-old Wood (2-4, 6.71) has made three starts with San Diego since being traded by Kansas City at the end of July. He's not close to the same pitcher he was early in his career with Cincinnati, when he nearly no-hit the Phillies in a tense matchup against Roy Halladay.

Lefties and righties alike have hit Wood, who has a .305 opponents' batting average and .852 opponents' OPS this season. 

Only a few active Phillies have faced him. Andres Blanco, who barely plays, is 2 for 2 with a double. Herrera is 1 for 6 with three strikeouts. Cesar Hernandez is 2 for 5 with two K's.

5. This and that
• Wil Myers is the Padres' most difference-making power bat (24 homers, 58 RBIs) but he's hit .205 with 105 strikeouts in his last 351 plate appearances.

• Manuel Margot, the Padres' return in the Craig Kimbrel trade with the Red Sox, is seeing the ball well. He's hit .298 since the All-Star break with seven home runs.

• The Phillies are on a 60-102 pace. 

• Despite being seven games better than the Phillies in the standings, the Padres' run differential is 57 runs worse. The Phillies are at minus-98; the Padres are minus-155, by far the worst in baseball.

• San Diego is, however, 29-27 at home.

• After this western trip, 30 of the Phillies' final 40 games are against NL East teams. In fact, after leaving San Diego and San Francisco, the Phils don't play another road game against a non-division opponent. 

• The Phillies are 6-17 this season against the NL West. It's the second-worst record for any team against any division in 2017 (the Giants are 6-19 against the NL East).

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