The Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies will play the rubber game of their three-game series Wednesday night. Despite losing Tuesday’s game in 10 innings, the Phillies are -158 favorites to win at home on Wednesday.
After all of their offseason moves, the Phillies are off to a fast start this season. Despite losing on Tuesday, they remain on top of the NL East standings at 7-3, including a 6-2 record at home. They also have the second-best run differential in the National League.
Meanwhile, the Nationals are trying to shake off a sluggish start. After Washington won two of three against the Mets over the weekend, a win on Wednesday can give them their second consecutive series victory and take them above .500 for the first time this season.
Jeremy Hellickson will take the mound for the Nationals on Wednesday night. After the Nats reorganized their rotation around several off days early in the season, this will actually be Hellickson’s first start of the season. He has made one relief appearance but allowed two runs on three hits over two innings of work. Of course, he’s coming off a season in which he posted a 3.45 ERA in 19 starts for Washington, so he’ll feel confident and comfortable as a starter coming off his performance last season.
Of course, facing Philadelphia’s lineup won’t be an easy task. Almost all of the team’s regular have gotten off to good starts over the first 10 games of the season. The trio of Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, and Maikel Franco have been particularly scary, as all three have an OPS well over 1.000, combining for 13 home runs thus far. Hellickson has also had a fair amount of trouble retiring some of Philadelphia’s top hitters during his career, including Harper and Andrew McCutchen.
Show Us What You Got
The Phillies will be sending Nick Pivetta to the mound on Wednesday for his third start of the season. Pivetta’s first two starts have been underwhelming, as his ERA sits at 6.52 early in the year. He’s already given up 17 hits over his 9.2 innings, including three home runs. Opponents are teeing off on him, so the pressure is on to come up with a good performance before the Phillies start considering other rotation options.
On the bright side, there are some holes in Washington’s lineup. Trea Turner is on the DL, Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Eaton have both been sluggish early in the season, and Brian Dozier has been downright terrible. However, Anthony Rendon has been red hot, hitting .421 with an OPS over 1.300. The young tandem of Victor Robles and Juan Soto have also started brightly. Rendon is also 6 for 12 with three home runs and a double against Pivetta. The Philadelphia starter has also struggled to retire Zimmerman and Soto early in his career.
Get ready to see a lot of runs scored in this game. The Phillies can mash, but Pivetta may not be able to keep the Nationals from doing the same. In the end, Philadelphia’s lineup has more depth and a little more power while the Washington bullpen has been a mess early in the season. Bet on the Phillies -158 to win on Wednesday.