Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies: Five Players To Watch This Weekend
By Ricky Keeler
A lot of people talk about the young talent the Mets have in the rotation and rightfully so. With that being said, don’t sleep on the young arms in the Phillies rotation. If the Phillies are going to have success in the future, one pitcher to watch is Aaron Nola.
Nola, who will be making his 2017 debut Saturday night, only made 20 starts last season because of an elbow injury. In the first two months of last season, teams hit .193 and .209 respectively, so he does have a lot of talent.
The pitch that fools hitters the most is the breaking ball. According to Brooks Baseball, teams have a .176 average against that pitch with four home runs and 119 strikeouts since 2015.
In six career starts against the Nats, Nola has yet to win a game as he is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA, but his 35 strikeouts are the most he has against any team in his career. Two hitters to watch against Nola are Bryce Harper (7-for-11, two home runs, five RBI’s) and Jayson Werth (4-for-14, two home runs, five RBI’s).
If Nola were to stay healthy, the Phillies have a decent rotation to work with. Jeremy Hellickson (Sunday’s starter) had a good opening day against the Reds as he went five innings and gave up one run in a win.
Against Scherzer on Friday, the Phillies will give the ball to Velasquez, who had 152 strikeouts last season in his first year in Philadelphia. The 24-year-old right-hander had a rough end to his season as he went 0-4 with a 5.33 ERA in his final nine starts.