After a brief three game road trip to the Bronx, the Washington Nationals will return home for a three game set before hitting the road once again. Davey Martinez’s crew will welcome the Phillies to town for the first of 19 games the two teams will play this season.
During the first month of the season, the Phillies have played sub-par baseball and find themselves just a game above .500. Nationals fans wish they could say the same, as our team is four games under, currently in the basement of the National League East.
As the two teams set to do battle, there are a few subplots which go along with the team’s first matchup of the season.
When the Nationals take on the Phillies this week, we’ll keep an eye on a few intriguing plot lines.
J.T. Realmuto. Nationals fans wish their team would have pursued the most sought after free agent catcher on the market. To our knowledge, the Nationals did not give it a second thought. Early in the offseason they made the fact clear they were going to go with Yan Gomes for 100+ games, and brought in Alex Avila to backup.
Through twenty games this season, Gomes has matched his home run total from a year ago, in forty fewer at-bats. He also leads the Majors by catching 46% of attempted base stealers. And he’s making $6M. Realmuto has the same number of home runs as Gomes (four), and is hitting forty points higher. He’s making $20M this season.
We’ll keep an eye on the head to head stats in their first matchup since Realmuto resigned with Philly.
Bryce Harper. After seven years with the Nationals, Harper followed a payday to Philadelphia. He even said he couldn’t wait to bring a championship back to DC (while wearing a Phillies uniform, after leaving the Nats). As much as we cheered for Harper when he played in Washington, we cheer against him as a member of the Phillies. In 29 career games against the Nationals, Harper is hitting .245, his lowest average against any NL team (outside of the Pirates and Dodgers).
Beating the Phillies is a must. Giving Harper the collar while doing so is icing on the cake. Every time Harper comes to bat you better believe we’ll be on the edge of our seats hoping for weak contact, if contact at all.
Brandon Kintzler. After a great year with the Miami Marlins as a closer, Kintzler decided to move to the Phillies on a non-guaranteed contract. After making the team out of spring training he has pitched poorly, to the tune of a .289 average against, and 6.35 ERA. You’ll remember Kintzler was traded away from the Nationals in 2018 for allegedly having a big mouth in the clubhouse. Kintzler denied the allegations. Every time he faces the Nats, you know he brings a little extra. General manager Mike Rizzo wouldn’t mind Kintzler serving up a couple gopher balls as well.
Erick Fedde. Fedde made three starts against the Phillies in 2020. He lost all three. He allowed 13 earned runs and five home runs in 18 innings. He takes the ball in game one and will be looking for a little revenge. Fedde can set the stage for what the Nationals hope is a series win against their division rival.