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Pivetta to take on Hellickson as Phillies look to salvage series win



Nick Pivetta, who will pitch for the Phillies tonight, was once a Nationals prospect. (Ian D’Andrea)

Following the Washington Nationals putting up eight unanswered runs in Tuesday evening’s collapse by Philadelphia Phillies pitching, the two teams will meet for the rubber match Wednesday evening with an interesting pitching matchup on tap.

No, this pitching matchup isn’t as juicy as Aaron Nola vs. Stephen Strasburg had the potential to be yesterday. Nor is three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer taking the mound for the Nationals. But both of tonight’s starters – Nick Pivetta for the Phillies and Jeremy Hellickson for the Nationals – have connections to the organization they are set to pitch against.

Hellickson spent parts of two seasons with the Phillies between 2016 and 2017, and was then-manager Pete Mackanin’s Opening Day starter in each of his seasons in red pinstripes. While miscast as an ace, the former American League Rookie of the Year was quite effective for the Phillies in 2016, going 12-10 with a 3.71 ERA, 3.98 FIP and 3.3 fWAR across 189.0 innings.

Meanwhile, Pivetta, who was briefly teammates with Hellickson in 2017, was once a Nationals prospect. The Phillies acquired Pivetta from the Nationals in July of 2015, when the Nationals looked to upgrade their bullpen by acquiring Phillies all-time saves leader Jonathan Papelbon. The move backfired on the Nationals, as Papelbon memorably got into a dugout confrontation with eventual National League MVP Bryce Harper and the Nationals only finished with 83 wins. Pivetta has flashed front-line potential since joining the Phillies, though the 26-year-old is yet to consistently put things together at the major league level.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday evening’s Phillies-Nationals tilt:

Phillies Lineup 

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

Nationals Lineup

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

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup

  • Jeremy Hellickson (5-3, 3.45 ERA and 4.22 FIP in 2018) vs. Nick Pivetta (1-0, 6.52 ERA and 6.08 FIP in 2019)
  • Pivetta went 1-3 with an 11.77 ERA in five games (four of which were starts) against the Nationals in 2018.
  • Hellickson was the Phillies Opening Day starter in 2016 and 2017.

Pregame Phillies Nuggets

  1. After his 10th inning home run Tuesday night, Juan Soto has seven career home runs against the Phillies in just 69 at-bats.
  2. In 14 plate appearances against the Nationals this season, Bryce Harper is hitting .429 with two home runs, six RBIs and five walks.
  3. While Victor Robles has had some gaffes on the basepaths, the 21-year-old went 3-5 with a double, home run and two RBIs Tuesday – it’s not hard to see why he entered the season as one of the top five prospects in the sport. Robles enters Wednesday evening’s game hitting .324 on the season.

Programming Information

  • 7:05 p.m. ET @ Citizens Bank Park
  • NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • SportsRadio 94 WIP

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  3. The Phillies Have Made Subtle Uniform Tweaks Ahead Of The 2019 Season
  4. David Robertson: “I’ve Been Sucking Out There”
  5. Nationals Closer: Phillies Have “Probably The Deepest Lineup In The League” 

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