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Velasquez, Kingery set to make first starts of the year as Phillies open series vs. Nationals


Vince Velasquez will make his first start of 2019 Monday. (Ian D’Andrea)

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:

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 fielder
  7. Scott Kingery, second base
  8. Maikel Franco, third base
  9. Vince Velasquez, pitcher

Opposing Lineup

  1. Adam Eaton, right field
  2. Brian Dozier, second base
  3. Anthony Rendon, third base
  4. Juan Soto, left field
  5. Ryan Zimmerman, first base
  6. Kurt Suzuki, catcher
  7. Wilmer Difo, shortstop
  8. Anibal Sanchez, pitcher
  9. 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

  1. In his first series against his former team, Bryce Harper went 5-7 with a home run, three RBIs and three walks.
  2. 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.
  3. J.T. Realmuto has a .342 lifetime batting average in 76 at-bats against the Nationals.

Programming Information

  • Citizens Bank Park
  • 7:05 p.m.
  • 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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