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Harper returns to D.C. as Phillies open two-game set against Scherzer, Nats


Max Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young Award winner. (Arturo Pardavila III)

The Washington Nationals have been the Washington Nationals since they moved from Montreal ahead of the 2005 season. The three greatest players in their franchise’s history are Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer and Ryan Zimmerman.

All three of those players will be in uniform at Nationals Park on Tuesday. Not all three will don a Nationals jersey, though.

Harper, who the Nationals selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, will return to Washington D.C. Tuesday for the first time as a visitor. Harper, the 2015 National League MVP, left the Nationals this offseason to sign a 13-year/$330 million free-agent contract with the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies.

Harper received a king’s welcome in his first series in Philadelphia. He also hit two titanic home runs in his first series in red pinstripes, as the Phillies swept the defending National League East champion Atlanta Braves.

In the Phillies second series of the year, Harper’s unlikely to receive a king’s welcome. He’s now an opponent in Nationals Park. And as Jayson Werth can attest to, regardless of what you accomplished with your former team, it’s an exercise in futility to expect to receive a standing ovation when you come back in a division rival’s jersey.

Beyond any surly greetings that Harper, a six-time All-Star, may receive in Washington, he’ll be welcomed back to D.C. by facing one of the greatest pitchers of the last 20 years. At his introductory press conference, Harper talked about how he was excited to never face Aaron Nola again. And that’s true. Instead, he’ll get to face Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, who shows no signs of slowing down at age 34.

Here’s all the information you need to know ahead of a game that was circled on the calendar ahead of the year.

Phillies Lineup

  1. Andrew McCutchen, left fielder
  2. Jean Segura, shortstop
  3. Bryce Harper, right fielder
  4. Rhys Hoskins, first base
  5. J.T. Realmuto, catcher
  6. Odubel Herrera, center fielder
  7. Cesar Hernandez, second base
  8. Maikel Franco, third base
  9. Zach Eflin, pitcher

Nationals Lineup

  1. Adam Eaton, right fielder
  2. Trea Turner, shortstop
  3. Juan Soto, left field
  4. Anthony Rendon, third base
  5. Matt Adams, first base
  6. Yan Gomes, catcher
  7. Brian Dozier, second base
  8. Max Scherzer, pitcher
  9. Victor Robles, center field

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup

  • Zach Eflin (11-8, 4.36 ERA and 3.80 FIP in 2018) vs. Max Scherzer (0-1, 2.35 ERA and 2.80 FIP in 2019)
  • Zach Eflin went 0-1 with a 5.93 ERA against the Nationals in 2018.
  • Max Scherzer went 0-1 with a 2.95 ERA in three starts against the Phillies a season ago.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets

  1. In 1,994 career plate appearances at Nationals Park, Bryce Harper has slashed .284/.394/.518 with 92 home runs, 275 RBIs and a .912 OPS. 
  2. In 41 career at-bats against Max Scherzer, Odubel Herrera has a .341 batting average with two home runs.
  3. Juan Soto thrived against the Phillies in his rookie season of 2018. Soto, who finished runner-up in the National League Rookie of the Year race a season ago, slashed .308/.392/.662 with six home runs, 14 RBIs and nine walks in 74 plate appearances against the Phillies in 2018.
  4. Andrew McCutchen has six career home runs in 101 at-bats at Nationals Park.

Programming Information

  • Nationals Park, 7:05 p.m.
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia +, MLB Network 
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP

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