Washington Nationals at Phillies Series Preview (5/30-6/1)

May 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) hits a bunt single during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
May 28, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) hits a bunt single during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
May 26, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals starting pitcher Joe Ross (41) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Joe Ross (4-4, 2.52) vs. Aaron Nola (4-3, 2.86) – 7:05 p.m, MASN2

The starter who had the best outing against the Cardinals in the last series was Joe Ross. On Thursday night, he went seven innings, gave up one run on six hits, struck out four, and walked one on a season-high 111 pitches to pick up his first win in the month of May.

Even though Ross has allowed a home run in four consecutive games, he has given up six earned runs in his last three starts. In fact, the one aspect of his start that was the most impressive was when Baker stuck with Ross in the seventh and he got Kolten Wong to ground into an inning-ending double play to preserve the 2-1 lead.

In his one start against the Phillies this season (April 15), Ross went 7.2 innings, gave up three hits, struck out five, and walked two in a win. The only two Phillies with hits against Ross are Freddy Galvis (1-for-3) and Herrera (1-for-2).

Tomorrow, Ross will go up against the starter with the lowest ERA on the Phillies’ staff in Aaron Nola. In his last start against the Tigers on May 25, he went six innings, gave up four runs (two earned) on six hits, struck out six, and walked one in a win.

This season, teams are only hitting .200 against the 22-year-old right-hander (turns 23 Saturday), which is the fifth lowest in the National League. Plus, his 0.92 WHIP is third in the NL behind two Cy Young award winners, Jake Arrieta (0.90) and Clayton Kershaw (0.65).

Nola is 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA in two starts against Washington this season. He gave up seven runs on seven hits in five innings in a loss on April 16. 12 days later, he shut out the Nats and gave up two hits and struck out seven over seven innings in a no-decision. Bryce Harper is 6-for-10 (.600) against Nola with two home runs and four RBI’s.

Prediction: This will be a fun battle to watch between two young pitchers. However, the one stat that makes me decide to pick the Nats in this one is the home/road splits. Ross has a 1.61 ERA in five road starts (3.51 at home) while Nola has a 4.85 ERA in four home starts (1.58 on the road).

Next: Wednesday's Matchup