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 23, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark (57) throws to the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Aaron Nola (1-2, 4.50) vs. Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.63) – 4:05 p.m ET, MASN

After having a rough outing against the Nats back on April 16, Nola bounced back in a big way in his last start against the Brewers. Back on April 22, he went seven innings, gave up one run on four hits, struck out seven, and walked two on 105 pitches to pick up his first win of the season.

In 2016, Nola has been one of the better strikeout pitchers in the league. His 30 strikeouts are tied for the third most in the NL with Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers). The only two pitchers with more K’s so far are the Nats’ Stephen Strasburg (31) and the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez (32).

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While Nola does have some talent, he has struggled mightily against the Washington Nationals. He went five innings, gave up seven runs on seven hits, and struck out six in that start ten days ago. Plus, he has a 7.80 ERA in three career starts against the Nats. Bryce Harper is 5-for-7 against him with two home runs and four RBI’s.

Roark made two starts last week and had some mixed results. However, the one result that stood out was his performance last Saturday against the Twins when he went seven innings, gave up two hits, and struck out 15 on a career-high 121 pitches.

As I mentioned in my Player of the Week column on Roark, he needs five strikeouts in this game to tie his mark for the most strikeouts in any month in his career. Despite that success, consistency is something I would like to see more from Roark, who has walked 11 batters in four starts (three walks in three of those games).

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Roark has struggled against the Phillies in his career, going 2-5 with a 6.91 ERA in seven games (five starts), including going 1-3 as a starter in 2014. Ryan Howard is 3-for-9 against him with a double, a home run, and six RBI’s.

Prediction: With the struggles that both of these pitchers have against the opposition, I would expect this game to have the most offense out of the three. If that’s the case, the Nationals have the better offense than Philadelphia, which will get them the win in the game and the series.