The Washington Nationals demolished the Phillies in the series finale. They weathered the storm through two weeks. Now, the road gets a bit easier.
The Washington Nationals are over .500 for the first time all season!
The now 6-5 Nationals simply clobbered the Phillies on Wednesday, scoring two touchdowns and allowing just one run on three hits.
In back-to-back games now, the Nats bullpen has legitimately pitched well. We can prove that because Trevor Rosenthal now has an ERA lower than infinity after he recorded three outs in the ninth inning.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Jeremy Hellickson Looked Fantastic
Perhaps lost in the offensive clinic the Nats put on at Citizens Bank Park is that starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson pitched one of his best games as a National.
The 32-year-old, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, threw six innings of three-hit ball with six strikeouts. Hellickson did allow four walks but was able to work around them.
One of the glaring defects in Hellickson’s game is the well-documented “third time around” struggles.
He didn’t show any of those yesterday. His defense helped him out, securing a double play and a force out in the 5th and 6th innings after facing the Phillies’ 1-5 hitters for the third time.
If Hellickson can be a consistent source of merely decent production this season, the Nats rotation is in great shape.
The Hard Part (in April) Is Over
After opening the season with eleven straight games against the Mets and Phillies, both the Nationals players and fans will be glad to see other opponents. The good news is that the schedule gets significantly more favorable in the middle and end of April.
After a 4-2 road trip, the Nats travel back to D.C. to face the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. After that, the Nats get a road trip to Miami and then to Coors Field in Denver. To close out the month, the Nats have home series against the San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals.
Without question, the Nats will be favorites in the majority of their remaining April games. After securing two enormous wins against Philadelphia this week, the Nats are right in the thick of the Nationa League East race at 6-5.
The Braves, Mets, and Phillies all sit at 7-4. These next few series provide an excellent opportunity for the Nats to gain ground and surpass some of their rivals.