Twice last August, Philadelphia Phillies ace Aaron Nola squared off with Washington Nationals righty Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner. Scherzer would ultimately finish runner-up for the 2018 National League Cy Young Award, one spot ahead of Nola. When you add in that both the Phillies and Nationals were still in the National League East mix when the two dueled, it only added to the excitement of watching two of the best at their craft compete.
Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, we won’t quite get Nola vs. Scherzer. But tonight’s pitching matchup – Nola vs. three-time All-Star Stephen Strasburg – doesn’t look too shabby itself.
After allowing just one run and two hits over six innings in an Opening Day win, Nola lasted just three innings and gave up six earned runs in a 9-8 loss to the Nationals last Wednesday. It goes without saying that the 25-year-old righty will be looking to rebound Tuesday, as he takes on the same lineup that snapped his 38-game streak of allowing four earned runs or fewer, the longest mark in Phillies history.
Strasburg, a former No. 1 overall pick, has only had one problem in his career – staying healthy. When Strasburg has been healthy, he’s been one of the era’s best starting pitchers, which led to the Nationals rewarding him with a seven-year/$175 million extension in May of 2016. Now 30, Strasburg has had a strong start to his 10th major league campaign, as he enters his third start of the 2019 season with a 2.84 ERA across 12.2 innings.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the second game of a three-game set between the Phillies and Nationals:
- Andrew McCutchen – left field
- Jean Segura – shortstop
- Bryce Harper – right field
- Rhys Hoskins – first base
- J.T. Realmuto – catcher
- Odubel Herrera – center field
- Cesar Hernandez – second base
- Maikel Franco – third base
- Aaron Nola – pitcher
- Adam Eaton – right field
- Brian Dozier – second base
- Anthony Rendon – third base
- Juan Soto – left field
- Ryan Zimmerman – first base
- Yan Gomes – catcher
- Wilmer Difo – shortstop
- Stephen Strasburg – pitcher
- Victor Robles – center field
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup
- Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 2.84 ERA and 1.03 FIP) vs. Aaron Nola (1-0, 7.00 ERA and 7.45 FIP)
- In five starts against the Nationals in 2018, Nola went 3-1 with a 2.14 ERA across 33.2 innings. That’s obviously a far cry from what he did last Wednesday afternoon, when he allowed six earned runs over just three innings.
- In 10 career starts at Citizens Bank Park, Strasburg is 5-0 with a 1.58 ERA.
- Per Eno Sarris of The Athletic, Strasburg is tied for the fourth highest average velocity drop in baseball since April.
Pregame Phillies Nuggets
- Rhys Hoskins has homered in three consecutive games, and four times overall in the Phillies last three contests. Tonight, he’ll try to put together a four-game home run streak for the second time in his career. He homered in five consecutive games from Aug. 23-Aug. 27 of 2017.
- This is the *seventh* time Hoskins has homered in three or more consecutive games since he was called up in August of 2017.
- Following a disappointing 2018 season, Brian Dozier signed a one-year deal with the Nationals. He hit a 410-foot home run against Pat Neshek in the ninth inning of Monday night’s Phillies win. Not only was it Dozier’s first home run of the season, it was his first RBI of the 2019 season. Between 2015 and 2017, Dozier hit 104 home runs and drove in 269 runs.
- Cesar Hernandez is back in the Phillies lineup Tuesday. He’s hitting just .179, but there’s reason to think he’s due for positive regression. He has just a .200 batting average on balls in play in 2019. He had a .315 BABIP in 2018 and a .353 BABIP in 2017. He’s also only struck out four times in 2019, so it’s not as if he’s just not putting the ball in play enough to have success. If he keeps putting the ball in play, good things are bound to happen.
- 7:05 p.m. ET
- Citizens Bank Park
- NBC Sports Philadelphia +
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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