The Washington Nationals begin a six game homestand tonight when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies
This week, the Washington Nationals (36-24) concluded their nine game road trip by taking two out of three games against the Chicago White Sox. Even though the offense only managed one run last night, they still scored 22 runs in the series and they continue to lead the NL East (2.5 games up on the Mets).
Tonight, the Nats begin a six game homestand at Nats Park when they take on the Philadelphia Phillies (29-31). The last time these two teams faced each other, the Nats swept the Phillies (May 30- June 1) and won the last two games without Bryce Harper. Harper injured his right knee after being hit by a Jeremy Hellickson pitch in the first game.
Since that series, Pete Mackanin’s club went 3-4 against the Brewers and the Cubs at home. But, they have dropped in the standings as they are now in fourth place in the NL East and seven games behind the Nats.
The Phillies did make news last night when they picked outfielder Mickey Moniak with the first pick in the MLB Draft. It was the first time that an outfielder was selected with the top pick since the Nats took Harper back in 2010.
As for the current Major League team, they have scored the second fewest runs in all of baseball (192) and have the lowest on-base percentage (.286). Despite those poor offensive numbers, Odubel Herrera continues to shine. The center fielder is hitting .318 with 38 walks, a .422 on-base percentage, and eight stolen bases. Third baseman Maikel Franco continues to lead the team in home runs (ten) and RBI’s (32).
The starting pitching took a hit today when Vincent Velasquez, who was acquired in the Ken Giles deal this offseason, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right biceps strain. Velasquez only threw two pitches against the Cubs on Wednesday before leaving the game.
In the bullpen, closer Jeanmar Gomez has 19 saves in 20 chances this year. The Nats had success against Philadelphia’s eighth inning reliever, Hector Neris, in the last series when they scored three runs on May 30. The Phillies’ bullpen has given up 30 home runs this year (tied for second in the National League).
Before the series starts tonight, here is my breakdown of the pitching matchups in this series:
Next: Tonight's Matchup