Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies: Five Players To Watch This Weekend

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Apr 5, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin (45) stands in the dugout at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin (45) stands in the dugout at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Washington Nationals
Apr 6, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher Shawn Kelley (27) reacts after giving up a two run homer to Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (left) during the eighth inning at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Shawn Kelley

After last night’s tough outing by the bullpen, the Washington Nationals  relievers will be under the microscope in Philadelphia. One reliever to keep a close eye on is Shawn Kelley.

In the 4-3 loss last night, Kelley pitched the eighth inning and gave up a two-run home run to J.T. Realmuto that ended up tying the game. While one game isn’t too much to be concerned over, keep in mind that Dusty Baker warmed him up in each of the first two games and didn’t use him.

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Of course, everyone remembers how Kelley’s season ended last year. He had a great month of September, but ended up leaving Game 5 of the NLDS early because of injury.

If Kelley is going to be used against the Phillies, he has a good track record against them based on last year’s numbers. In six games, he gave up one hit, struck out five, and had an opponents batting average of .083.

With most of the bullpen pitching yesterday and Blake Treinen having thrown back-to-back days, Kelley could be the one that’s called upon for a save situation today if needed. If that’s the case, then it will be interesting to see if he can bounce back and have better command of his slider.

On the Phillies side, their bullpen has given up three home runs in the first three games. One of those home runs came on Opening Day when their closer, Jeanmar Gomez, gave up a two-run shot to Scooter Gennett.

Gomez is already named the closer for the start of the season. But, if he struggles, do the Phillies turn to the veteran in Joaquin Benoit or try another reliever like Hector Neris for that role?

Next: 2017 Minor League Opening Day Preview

Which players will you be watching this weekend? Let us know in the comments section.

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