The 6-2 Philadelphia Phillies will welcome the Washington Nationals to Citizens Bank Park Monday for the first of a three-game set. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler’s lineup is largely the same one that has allowed the Phillies to jump out to a fast start, but two former top prospects will make their first starts of the 2019 season.
Vince Velasquez, who made a relief appearance against the Nationals in D.C. last Tuesday, will make his season-debut as a starter Monday night, as the Phillies use a fifth starter for the first time in 2019. Velasquez pitched a career-high 146.2 innings in 2018, while posting a career-low 3.75 FIP. You could do worse at the back-end of your rotation. But Velasquez had a rather disastrous Spring Training – he posted a 12.79 ERA in 6.1 innings – and has a pitching arsenal that made some think he could be a front-line starter when the Phillies acquired him in December of 2015. That hasn’t happened, so the 26-year-old opens up the 2019 season with a short leash.
Meanwhile, with Cesar Hernandez off to a slow start in 2019, Scott Kingery will make his first start of the 2019 season at his natural position of second base. After having a breakout season between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2017, Kingery was rewarded with a six-year deal before making his major league debut in 2018. But in 452 at-bats in his rookie season, Kingery posted a -19.3 offensive WAR, one of the 10 worst marks in the sport. With an offense that’s immensely more talented than it was a season ago, Kingery isn’t guaranteed much in the way of starts of at-bats. He’s made just five plate appearances through the first eight games of the 2019 season, so when Kingery is given a chance to start like this, it’s obviously crucial that he makes the best of it.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Monday night’s tilt against the Nationals:
- Andrew McCutchen, left field
- Jean Segura, shortstop
- Bryce Harper, right field
- Rhys Hoskins, first base
- J.T. Realmuto, catcher
- Odubel Herrera, center fielder
- Scott Kingery, second base
- Maikel Franco, third base
- Vince Velasquez, pitcher
- Adam Eaton, right field
- Brian Dozier, second base
- Anthony Rendon, third base
- Juan Soto, left field
- Ryan Zimmerman, first base
- Kurt Suzuki, catcher
- Wilmer Difo, shortstop
- Anibal Sanchez, pitcher
- Victor Robles, center fielder
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Matchup
- Anibal Sanchez (0-0 with a 9.00 ERA and 4.45 FIP in 2019) vs. Vince Velasquez (9-12 with a 4.85 ERA and 3.75 FIP in 2018)
- Sanchez made his Nationals debut against the Phillies last Wednesday. He allowed four earned runs in just four innings, but the Nationals won the game 9-8.
- This will be Velasquez’s first start of the 2019 season, but he did pitch a scoreless ninth inning out of the bullpen in the Phillies 8-2 win over the Nationals last Tuesday.
- In three starts against the Nationals in 2018, Velasquez went 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA. The catch? Those three starts only spanned 11 innings.
Pregame Phillies Nuggets
- In his first series against his former team, Bryce Harper went 5-7 with a home run, three RBIs and three walks.
- In 345 career at-bats against the Phillies, Anthony Rendon has slashed .296/.377/.528 with 17 home runs, 59 RBIs and a .904 OPS.
- J.T. Realmuto has a .342 lifetime batting average in 76 at-bats against the Nationals.
- Citizens Bank Park
- 7:05 p.m.
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94 WIP
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