NL East foes will square off Friday in a doubleheader as the Philadelphia Phillies (33-31) take on the Washington Nationals (23-43). Washington will host this one at Nationals Park, with the first pitch of the first game scheduled for 1:05 pm ET.
In the first game of this five-game series, the Phillies took down Washington 10-1 on Thursday. In the win, Zack Wheeler went seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits.
Offensively, Philadelphia slugged three home runs, including two by Kyle Schwarber. In total, the Phillies pieced together 11 hits and drew five walks en route to their blowout win.
For the Nationals, Patrick Corbin was roughed up. He gave up nine runs in 3.1 innings; however, only two of those runs were earned thanks to a pair of costly errors.
Josh Bell accounted for the only scoring as he hit a solo home run in the fourth inning. He had two of the Nationals’ five hits on the night.
The Phillies are the favorites in the first game despite playing on the road. They are -240 to win while the Nationals’ moneyline sits at +194. The runline features Washington +1.5 (+122), and the over/under for total runs is 10.5.
Phillies Trying To Stay In NL East Contention
At 33-31, the Philadelphia Phillies currently find themselves 8.5 games behind the first-place New York Mets. Having won eight of their last ten games, Philadelphia is trying to stay in contention with the Mets and Braves, and beating up on a struggling Nationals team could help them do exactly that.
Taking the mound in the first game for the Phillies is lefty Ranger Suarez. The 26-year-old southpaw is 4-4 with a 4.40 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and has 49 strikeouts in 59.1 innings this year.
He did take the loss in his last outing after giving up two earned runs on four hits and four walks in 4.1 innings of work against the Diamondbacks. He will look to get back on track against a struggling Washington team.
Offensively, the Phillies are led by Bryce Harper. This season, Harper is hitting .316/.380/.613 with 15 home runs, 46 runs batted in, 46 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. He leads the team in both runs batted in and runs scored.
Leading the way in home runs is Thursday’s standout Kyle Schwarber. Despite hitting just .212/.337/.496, he has 18 home runs, 37 runs batted in, and 43 runs scored.
Nationals Trying To Get Out Of NL Cellar
To say it has been a rough start to the season for the Washington Nationals might be a bit of an understatement. At 23-43, they are already 19.5 games out of first in the NL East and currently have the worst record in the National League. To this point, only the Kansas City Royals and Oakland A’s have a worse record in all of baseball.
For as bad as they have been on the road (12-20), they have actually been worse at home (11-23). Furthermore, they have struggled mightily as of late, losing eight of their last 10.
Trying to get Washington back into the win column will be 23-year-old righty Joan Adon. In 12 games, Adon has struggled as he is 1-10 with a 6.95 ERA, 1.76 WHIP, and has 44 strikeouts in 55.2 innings.
In his last start, he lasted just three innings against the Marlins as he gave up eight runs on seven hits and two walks.
With the trade deadline coming up at the beginning of August, don’t be surprised if you see Josh Bell’s name in trade talks. The slugging first baseman is hitting .294/.370/.447 with eight home runs, 39 runs batted in, and 33 runs scored.
The biggest threat on the Nationals, though, is Juan Soto. He is hitting just .224/.372/.447, but he still has a team-leading 13 home runs. He also has 28 runs batted in, 36 runs scored, and five stolen bases.
Don’t Be Surprised By Another Route
These two teams are just going in opposite directions. After a slow start, the Phillies have been red hot lately as the Nationals continue to plummet.
While Ranger Suarez is no ace, Philadelphia still has the pitching advantage in this one, given Joan Adon’s struggles.
The trends support Philadelphia, too. They have won 12 of their last 14 games overall and have won nine straight against the Nationals.
Expect the Phillies to win, and don’t hesitate to take them covering the -1.5 runline (-144) as well.