Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Phillies (9/25-9/27)
By Ricky Keeler
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
During round two of the Beltway series, the Washington Nationals (78-74) lost all three games against the Baltimore at home as their postseason hopes continue to diminish by the day. For the first time this year, Bryce Harper did not pick up a hit in three consecutive games, but the story of the series was the bullpen and its failures to get the key outs in big spots.
On Thursday afternoon, Blake Treinen gave up the game-winning two-run homer against Matt Wieters in the top of the eighth. One night before that, Jonathan Papelbon was thrown out of the game in the top of the ninth for intentionally hitting Manny Machado, who had hit what ended up being the game-winning two run home run against Max Scherzer in the top of the seventh. Today, Papelbon was suspended three games by Major League Baseball for hitting Machado, but he is appealing the punishment:
With ten games left in the regular season, the Nats’ tragic number is down to three games as the Mets inch closer and closer to winning the NL East title. Despite postseason baseball not looking likely, the Nationals need to try to end this disappointing season on somewhat of a good note. They will try to do that tonight when they begin a three game series against the Philadelphia Phillies (57-96).
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In the last series between these two teams at Citizens Bank Park (September 14-16), the Nats swept the Phillies by a combined score of 24-9. Washington leads the season series between the two teams, 11-5. Since that series, the Phillies have lost five of their last six games to the Marlins and Braves. This month, Philadelphia is 5-16 in 21 games, which is the worst record of any team in the game.
While it’s been all bad for the Phillies on the field, their interim manager, Pete Mackanin, had his contract extended for the 2016 season earlier this week, thus removing the interim tag.
First baseman Ryan Howard has been out since September 14 because of a knee injury and he is trying to get back to playing games before the season is over. Even with Howard in the lineup, Philadelphia has scored the second fewest runs in baseball this month (74).
When it comes to the Phillies’ pitching staff, the results have been just as bad. As the organization gives young pitchers such as Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Alec Asher a chance to get valuable Major League experience going into 2016, the club’s starters’ ERA of 5.33 is the worst in baseball.
Let’s take a look to see who has the edge in each of the three pitching matchups this weekend:
Next: Tonight's Matchup