Phillies rotation is set for weekend series against Nationals, next week against Braves
The Philadelphia Phillies announced Thursday that right-hander Zack Wheeler will pitch tonight’s series opener against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. Spencer Howard will pitch Saturday and Vincent Velasquez will pitch on Sunday in the series finale.
After a week of speculation around whether the Phillies would use a 4-man rotation in the month of June given Wednesday’s rain postponement and more than five days off throughout the month, it appears that the Phillies have opted to go with their 1-2-3 lineup against the Braves next Tuesday.
With Spencer Howard starting on Saturday, that will likely push Zack Eflin’s next scheduled start to Tuesday, when the Phillies open a three-game series against Atlanta. By setting up their rotation like this against the Nationals, the Phillies are giving Eflin and Nola an extra day’s rest.
Aaron Nola has historically pitched better with an extra day off. He is 29-28 with a 4.23 ERA in 71 starts when he pitches on just four days of rest and he’s 33-16 with a 2.87 ERA in 80 career starts when he pitches on five or more days of rest.
Eflin will have eight days of rest and Nola will have seven days of rest. The Phillies are setting themselves up to have Eflin, Nola, and Wheeler against the Braves next week.
On the season, the Phillies are currently a half game behind the Braves and four games back of the NL East leading New York Mets. They are three games under .500 and the weekend series against the Nationals could be a huge momentum builder heading into a rivalry series against the Braves early next week. Hopefully, they can get the bats working like they did against the Reds last game, where they hit seven home runs and scored 17 runs.