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2017 Series Preview

Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (3-6) at Washington Nationals (5-4), April 14-16

Westview_Logo_nationals_1.jpgEverything that could go wrong for the Phillies did during the Mets’ three-game sweep. The offense struggled mightily against the Mets’ starting pitching, Clay Buchholz was injured and Vince Velasquez failed to go past five innings again. Oh, and the Mets hit what seemed like a million home runs.

The Phils now head down to Washington for the first time this season to try and stop the bleeding.

What to Expect

Needless to say, the Phillies are more than happy to escape down to Washington to try and reignite the success they had last weekend against the Nationals. There likely won’t be another 17-run game but the Nats starting pitching continues to show they are beatable, giving up 15 runs against the Cardinals.
Still, the Nats won the Cardinals series with their bats and the Phils will have to keep up. After a slow first week, Maikel Franco seems to be coming around. He totaled five hits against the Mets, including a grand slam. The top of the order continues to get on base but Michael Saunders, Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp were just 3-25 against the Mets.


Friday at 4:05 p.m., Aaron Nola (1-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 3.21 ERA) 
If anybody deserved to be the recipient of a 12-run lead, it was Nola. Nola was able to focus on making his pitches in his first game back after being sidelined last July with an elbow injury. He hopes to build on last week’s solid outing against a Nats’ offense that will certainly be looking for revenge.
The Phils showed last Sunday that they can hit Strasburg. He still has a 2.43 ERA against the Phillies so they will have to capitalize on any chances they get and try to get to the Nats’ iffy bullpen early.
Saturday at 1:05 p.m., Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 0.90 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (2-0, 4.09 ERA) 
Hellickson kept this Nats lineup to just one hit and no runs in five innings last Sunday before leaving the game with arm cramps. Despite leaving his first two starts after just five innings, Hellickson has shown he might just be worth that $17 million qualifying offer he signed this offseason.
Like Hellickson, Roark didn’t go deep in his first two starts and the Nats were worried that it’s because he didn’t get enough work in this spring as he threw less than 11 innings because of the World Baseball Classic. With two starts now under his belt, expect him to be much sharper.
Sunday at 1:35 p.m., Jerad Eickhoff (0-1, 1.98 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 0.69 ERA)
Eickoff pitched another gem in his second start, giving up just one earned run and three hits against a Mets lineup that made Citizens Bank Park look like a little league field. He continues to be one of the lone models of consistency for the Phils.
In his first two starts, however, Gonzalez has been just as consistent. In 13 innings, the Nats’ lefty has given up just one run and walked two. The Phils haven’t had much success against him in the past, hitting just .195 with 42 strikeouts in 159 ABs. One bright spot? Rupp is 3-9 with a walk. Today would be a good day for his bat to finally wake up.
Let’s get back to .500, shall we?

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