Two National League East foes are set to do battle tonight as the Washington Nationals host the Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals are trying to revive their season after a slow start and a recent slump. The Nationals had high hopes for this season, but injuries have decimated them, as many of their star players have been sent to the injured list this season.
The Phillies, on the other hand, are underperforming their expectations a little bit. After signing Bryce Harper in the offseason, the Phillies were in line to have a huge year, but so far it has not been what they thought it would be. Both these teams are looking to use the series to get back on track for a push for the playoffs. The Nationals are favored by 1.5 runs.
Phillies Look for Momentum
The Phillies sit three games back of the Atlanta Braves, who are in first place in the division. The Phillies have gotten a little lucky in terms of the record this season so far because their run differential is so small. The Phillies have scored 346 runs while allowing 340 runs. Comparatively, the Braves, who are in first place, have a run differential of +48 runs.
The Phillies are 5-5 over their last 10 games while the Braves are 9-1. The Phillies did have first place locked down, but their recent slide and the Braves’ hot streak has slowed them into second place. Jake Arrieta is on the mound tonight for the Phillies, and he has had a good track record against the Nationals in his career.
Nationals Need a Good Outing
Washington has really struggled to stay healthy this year. With seven of their nine starters seeing some sort of injured list time this season, the Nationals just have not been able to find their groove. Right now they have four pitchers on the injured list, and because of that, they have the worst bullpen ERA in baseball. The Nationals’ pitching staff has struggled this year besides Max Scherzer and Sean Doolittle, and now both of those players might be in trade discussions if the Nationals’ slide continues.
Over the past 10 games, the Nationals are 5-5 and not making up any ground on the top of the division. Tonight starts the series where they can make some ground up provided they have a good series, Patrick Corbin is on the mound to start the series.
Rivals Set For Battle
Both of these teams are looking to get something going, and this is a good opportunity to do so. If one team sweeps the other in this series, they could become sellers at the trade deadline to retool for years down the line as they both have great trade chips. But with how they pursued players in free agency in recent years, it’s hard to see either of these teams become sellers at the trade deadline. I think the Phillies have more firepower and I like the matchup for Arrieta out on the mound. Take the Phillies tonight in this one.