Saturday, June 12, 2021

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Washington Nationals VS. Philadelphia Phillies Preview (June 4, 2021 – June 6, 2021)

After splitting a four-game series in Atlanta, the Washington Nationals travel to Philly for three games against the division-rival Phillies

The Nationals are moving on to the second leg of their 9-game road trip against another divisional foe, the third-place Philadelphia Phillies. Offense has been hard to come by this season for Washington, which was tied for 27th in runs scored entering Thursday’s finale in Atlanta. Let’s hope the bats heat up along with the temperature in Philadelphia this weekend to give the pitching staff some much needed support.

(Related Article: 2021 NL East Preview: Philadelphia Phillies)

Let’s take a look at the projected pitching matchups for the series against the Philadelphia Phillies. 

Friday, June 4, RHP Max Scherzer (4-4, 2.34 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (4-2, 2.52 ERA) | First Pitch: 7:05 pm

Max Scherzer will be making his 11th start of the season and has been outstanding so far. He is pitching to a 2.34 ERA and is second in the NL in strikeouts with 95 on the year. Max made six starts in the month of May and struck out seven or more batters in each of them. 

While Scherzer has not pitched against Philadelphia yet this season, he does have a career 11-4 record against them with a 2.70 ERA in 21 starts. Since coming to DC in 2015, Max is even more impressive against the Phillies, posting a 5-1 record with a 2.63 ERA. 

(Related Article: Perspective: Trade Max Scherzer and… Trea Turner?)

The Phillies will counter with Zack Wheeler, who has been having a fantastic season of his own. He is sitting right behind Scherzer in strikeouts among NL pitchers with 92 on the season. In his last outing against the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays, Wheeler fanned 14 batters to post his third consecutive game with 10 or more strikeouts. 

The game can be seen on MASN and heard on 106.7, the Fan.

Saturday, June 5, RHP Joe Ross (2-5, 5.40 ERA) vs. RHP Spencer Howard (0-1, 5.56 ERA) | First Pitch: 4:05 pm 

Joe Ross has looked shaky as of late and his stats are showing that right now. In his four career starts against Philadelphia though, he is 2-0 with an impressive 1.75 ERA. In the month of May, Ross only went deeper than five innings once, tossing 5.1 inning outing on May 4th against the Braves.  

Taking the mound for the Phillies against Ross on Saturday afternoon is young, right-handed starter, Spencer Howard. This will only be the third start of the season for Howard, who has pitched to a solid 3.86 ERA in his first two starts. He has not shown an ability to pitch deep into games yet, pitching just three and four innings respectively in his first two starts. 

Sunday, June 6, TBD vs. RHP Vince Velasquez (2-1, 4.08 ERA) | First Pitch: 1:05 pm 

The Nationals have yet to name a starting pitcher for the third and final game of this series in Philadelphia. Two possibilities to keep an eye on are Erick Fedde, who is scheduled to pitch in a rehab assignment for High-A Wilmington on Thursday night, as well as Jon Lester, who pitched Wednesday night on short rest against Atlanta. With Strasburg back on the IL currently, the rotation order is in flux right now. 

The Phillies scheduled starter for Sunday afternoon is Vince Velasquez, who has had a decent start to this season. However, he did surrender six runs, including two homers, in only three innings against Cincinnati in his last start. He also has shown potential to throw into the sixth inning and beyond throughout May, with the game against the Reds being the only one under five innings. 

Series Notes: Philadelphia Phillies

  • The Phillies have not been good of late, losing 4 of their last 6 series.
  • There are also a handful of key injuries in Philadelphia’s lineup with Bryce Harper, Scott Kingery, and Didi Gregorious all currently on the IL.
  • Philly currently sits 3rd in the NL East, 2 games ahead of Washington and 4.5 games behind the 1st place New York Mets.
  • First baseman Rhys Hoskins leads the Phillies in Batting Avg, Home Runs, RBI, OBP, and total hits.