Monday’s game was postponed due to wet grounds, the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies will hope to fit in a double-header on Tuesday. The Phillies, who are fighting for their playoff lives, are -142 favorites to win game 1.
The Phillies have been an utter disaster since the calendar flipped to September, winning just two of their eight games. Most concerning is that they lost series to both the Marlins and Mets last week, two teams they should be happy to be playing this time of year. They have now fallen five games back of the Braves in the NL East and five games out of a wild-card spot. They need to get things turned around in a hurry.
The Nationals, of course, are just hoping to play spoiler down the stretch. Washington did just that over the weekend when they swept a doubleheader against the Cubs on Saturday. Of course, the Nationals also lost four of their last five games prior to that double-header, so they haven’t been playing great baseball as of late.
Be the Stopper
Jake Arrieta will get the ball for Philadelphia in Game 1. Outside of Aaron Nola, this is probably the guy the Phillies want to see on the mound the most. He’s 10-9 with a 3.61 ERA in 27 starts this season despite some uneven performances as of late. Arrieta has allowed four runs or more in four of his last five starts, although he did get the win last time out after allowing four runs but striking out 11 Marlins over 7.1 innings.
Throughout his career, Arrieta has done a good job of limiting the damage done by Washington’s top hitters like Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. Those two are a combined 8 for 33 (.242) with two doubles and no home runs against Arrieta, although both have been red-hot over the past week. Mark Reynolds is also someone to watch closely, as he’s seeing the ball well lately and is 9 for 22 (.409) with a double and home run in his career against Arrieta.
Show Us What You Got
The Nationals will give young Erick Fedde the start in Game 1. The 25-year old has been one of Washington’s top prospects for a few years but is yet to find much success in the majors. In seven starts this year, he’s 1-3 with a 6.00 ERA. Of course, most of those starts came during the first half of the season and Fedde has had just one start in September, as he tries to convince the Nationals he should be in their rotation plans for next season.
Fedde actually made back-to-back starts against the Phillies in late June. Over those two starts, he gave up eight runs on 16 hits over 11 innings, although managed to get a win in the second start. Nevertheless, Maikel Franco, Cesar Hernandez, and Scott Kingery all had multiple hits against him over those two games. He’ll also have to deal with the likes of Hernandez, Rhys Hoskins, Carlos Santana, and Asdrubal Cabrera all swinging hot bats over the past week. In fact, Hoskins and Santana both have three home runs each in their last five games.
Who Needs It More?
Arrieta hasn’t been great against the Nationals this season, but he figures to step up when his team needs a win. Fedde, of course, is unreliable at this point in his career. Tuesday’s matinee figures to be a slugfest, but I’ll bet on Arrieta being able to slow down the Nationals just enough. Bet on the Phillies -142 to win the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.