Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies Preview (4/26-4/28)

Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Apr 22, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez (47) pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 5.21) vs. Gio Gonzalez (1-0, 1.42) – 7:05 p.m ET, MASN

After a good start to his Phillies’ career, Hellickson has struggled in his last two starts. In those two games, he has given up a combined 17 hits and he has not made it past the fifth inning. Against the Mets in his last start back on April 20, the 29-year-old right-hander went 4.1 innings, gave up four runs on ten hits, struck out six batters, and walked one. Plus, he has given up four home runs in his last three starts.

Just like Scherzer, Hellickson has his own first inning problems (five runs). All five of those runs came in the first inning against the Nats on April 15 when the Washington Nationals won 9-1. Jayson Werth is 3-for-8 against him with two doubles, a home run, and six RBI’s.

As for Gonzalez, his consistency continues to be the story in the first part of 2016. He has back-to-back starts in which he has put up eight strikeouts. In his last outing against the Twins, Gonzalez went six innings, gave up two earned runs on six hits, and picked up his first win of the year.

One of the problems Gonzalez had in the first two games was getting enough run support from the offense. However, in his start against the Phillies on April 17, he was great. In seven innings, the left-hander gave up one run on four hits, struck out eight, and walked two in a n-decision. The lone run came on a solo shot by Carlos Ruiz, who is 7-for-27 against him with that home run and five RBI’s.

Prediction: I think Gonzalez has another dominant start and the Washington Nationals offense gets to Hellickson again early in the game to provide the left-hander with the run support that he needs to pick up the win.

Next: Thursday's Matchup