Washington Nationals: 5 To Watch In Philly
By Ron Juckett
Like the Nats, the Phillies closer situation is a hot mess. For now the job belongs to Hector Neris, the hard-throwing righty from the Dominican Republic.
After Jeanmar Gomez and veteran Joaquin Benoit struggled, Neris inherited the role. Converting his first three save chances, the Dodgers shredded him for four runs and three homers last Saturday over a third of an inning. His ERA jumped from 2.19 to 4.97 as the Phillies lost 6-5.
Back home, will he get the ninth-inning chance if the Phillies can win? As they face Stephen Strasburg Friday and Tanner Roark Sunday, the chance to win is the highest Saturday. Benoit has better overall numbers, but Neris has pitched well in the games he has saved.
Because he has struggled, Neris’ role is on the line this weekend. With the Nationals bullpen still unsettled, anything the Phillies give up is not an automatic loss. His margin for error currently is slim. Another bad performance will cost him his job.
No pressure or anything.
The Nats have struggled against Neris in 2017. In 4.1 innings, they have a hit and a walk against him with no runs, five strikeouts and two double plays. If there is a team restoring his confidence, Washington fits.