The 2020 season has not gone how the Washington Nationals would have liked it to. Were they to ruin the Philadelphia Phillies playoff chances, things would get better.
With the Philadelphia Phillies in town to start a four-game series against the Washington Nationals, only one of these teams has postseason hopes still alive. This does not mean the other team has nothing to play for.
The Phillies are in good position to make the postseason, sitting only a game behind the Miami Marlins for second place in the National League East Division, and a half a game ahead of a flurry of teams battling for two wild card spots.
Sitting in the basement of the National League East are the Nationals, and they are playing for 2021, namely trying to secure a quality draft position while looking respectable on the field (we won’t address the runners on second and third, no-out, debacle, in the last inning of Game 1 against the Marlins yesterday).
How great would winning the series against the Phillies feel?
Yes, winning the series and keeping the Phillies from postseason play would feel fantastic, indeed. Might just be wishing thinking, however.
The two teams have met six times thus far, with the Phillies winning all six games. Convincingly.
There have been two, one-run games played between the two teams, but the Nationals are -18 in overall run differential against Philadelphia this year.
The Nationals have scored three or less runs in four of the six games, and have been shutout twice.
Coming off an offensive explosion where the Nats scored 15 runs in the series finale in Miami may mean the bats will be ready to face Zach Wheeler.
Wheeler is 4-0, with a 2.62 earned run average on the year, and stifled the Nationals over 6.2 innings in his previous start against them. Aaron Nola, and his sub-3.00 ERA will be awaiting for game two of the series.
Like I said, this won’t be easy. If the Nationals could steal a game or two late, and win the series (I’d even take a series split), helping to keep the Phillies out of the playoffs would bring some satisfaction to an otherwise dismal 2020, for the Washington Nationals.