Washington Nationals vs. Phillies Series Preview (6/10-6/12)

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Jun 7, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis (13) celebrates with center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) after scoring a run during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis (13) celebrates with center fielder Odubel Herrera (37) after scoring a run during the first inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
May 31, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola (27) throws a pitch against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /

Aaron Nola (5-4, 2.65) vs. Tanner Roark (4-4. 3.21) – 12:05 p.m, MASN/MLBN/WUSA9

While Nola has alternated wins and losses in his last five games, he has still been effective. In his last outing against the Brewers on June 5, he went six innings, gave up eight hits, struck out nine, and walked two in a victory.

Over his last eight starts, the 23-year-old right-hander has given up no more than three runs in any game. You have to go back to April 16 to the last time he allowed more than three runs (seven against the Nats). Nola leads the Phillies in strikeouts (85) and opponents’ batting average (.212).

Nola has faced the Washington Nationals in each of the first three series. While he is 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA in those outings, he has only given up nine runs. But, he has surrendered three home runs. Bryce Harper is 6-for-10 (.600) against Nola with two home runs and four RBI’s against Nola.

It was a short outing for Roark in his last start against the Reds on June 5. Roark only went three innings, gave up five runs on seven hits, struck out three, and walked one. The Nats would end up tying the game in the top of the fourth, including Dusty Baker using Stephen Drew to pinch-hit for Roark.

Sunday’s no-decision was the first time that Roark gave up more than three runs in an outing since May 14 against the Marlins. He had only four groundball outs, which is the lowest total he’s had in a start this year.

However, he has had some success against the Phillies this season. In two starts, he is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA and has held Philadelphia’s offense to a .133 batting average. Ryan Howard is 4-for-15 (.267) against Roark with one home run and six RBI’s.

Prediction: Even though I expect Roark to have a much better outing than the start he had on Sunday, Nola is on a roll right now where runs are hard to come by unless you are hitting the home run. I like the Phillies to get the win even though Nola is due for a loss if he follows the win-loss pattern.

Next: Sunday's Matchup

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