A brutal series against the Miami Marlins got tougher with RHP Jackson Tetreault going down with a stress fracture. Now the Nationals look to be without a starter come Thursday but can change quickly with the promotion of a player from AAA. Now the Nats will take on the Philadelphia Phillies (42-38), who just recently lost Bryce Harper to a broken thumb and Ranger Suárez to back spasms. For a team already missing Jean Segura, those are massive losses. The offensive production now centers around Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins, and Nick Castellanos. On to the pitching matchups!
Tuesday, July 5, RHP Paolo Espino (0-1, 2.80 ERA) vs LHP Cristopher Sánchez (0-1, 4.60 ERA) | First Pitch: 7:05p ET
Paolo Espino’s last start against the Pirates was by far his worst. He gave up the most home runs in an appearance all year and the most since September 24 last year. A large part of his success comes from his curveball, which grades out as one of the better curves in baseball, and even better than it was last season. His changeup could use some improvement, but he does not throw it nearly enough for it to hurt him.
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Cristopher Sánchez has primarily been used as a reliever this season and has thrown 15.2 innings in eight appearances. His singular start was against the New York Mets where he went two and third innings. With his usage this season, the Phillies likely hope Sánchez gives them three or four innings and then hands it off to the next guy.
Wednesday, July 6, RHP Josiah Gray (6-5, 4.22 ERA) vs TBA | First Pitch: 7:05p ET
Josiah Gray got crushed in his last start, giving up six runs in five and two-thirds innings. On the bright side, his ground ball rate continues to tick up and his walks continue to decline. This sort of start was almost inevitable, but one this bad should not happen again soon.
While no starter has been announced, Aaron Nola is on track to make this start. Nola has been one of the more dominant arms this season. He is stingy with giving free passes, strikes out tons of opposing batters, and his only real knock compared to other arms is his propensity to give up home runs. Nola’s success is the most sustainable of all the top arms, which should be terrifying for Nats fans.
Thursday, July 7, TBA vs TBA | First Pitch 4:05p ET
The first and projected option for the Nats here is Joan Adon. Walks still remained an issue for him, even in AA, but maybe he learned from this experience, and he will carve up this Phillies lineup. Or not.
Bailey Falter will likely start this game if Nola starts on Wednesday. The southpaw has struggled so far this season. Falter gives up lots of home runs, does not get many strikeouts, and fails to coax groundballs. He does limit walks though so good on him for that.