Series Preview: Phillies face Nationals with a new look pitching rotation
The Phillies took the final game of their series vs the Pittsburgh Pirates in dominant fashion, winning 15-4. The team now heads to Washington DC to face the Nationals, who have a very different look to their team compared to the last time the two teams squared off.
Max Scherzer and Trae Turner are now members of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Josh Harrison is an Oakland Athletic, and Brad Hand is now playing for the Toronto Blue Jays. The Nationals sort of “blew up” their team to an extent, trading their elite pitcher, young shortstop, and one of their most useful utility men. The Phillies will now get their first look at this new Washington team this week, as the Phils will be playing some new faces as well.
The Phillies will be making a change to their starting rotation this week, with new arms in Philly, and old arms being demoted. Ranger Suarez, the teams most trustworthy reliever this season, will now be moving to the starting rotation. Suarez was originally a starting pitcher, but was moved into the bullpen once he hit the high minor leagues and majors. He’s been dominant in the bullpen this season, with a 5-3 record and a 1.12 ERA.
Zack Wheeler will make his normally scheduled start for the Phillies on Tuesday. Wheeler has been the best pitcher on this team by a landslide this year, putting up dominant numbers every game he steps on the mound. He’s 8-6 on the year, with a 2.45 ERA in 21 starts. In 139.2 innings pitched, he’s struck out 165 batters, with a 1.02 WHIP. With deGrom heading to the injured list until potentially September, a Wheeler NL Cy Young trophy isn’t completely out of the picture.
Chase Anderson will make the start for Vince Velasquez on Wednesday, who has officially been moved to the bullpen. Anderson has struggled in his starts this year, posting a 2-4 record with a 6.45 ERA. With the newest pitching acquisitions, and hopefully getting Zach Eflin back soon, time will tell how long Anderson will be in this starting rotation.
Kyle Gibson was everything this teams needs in his first start with the team on Sunday. He went 6.2 innings, allowing just 5 hits, 2 earned runs, and striking out 5 batters. The Phillies have been starved of back of the rotation arms that can eat up innings, and they could have just found that in Kyle Gibson. Although not all of his starts will be like his first one, if he keeps this up, he will be a steal of an acquisition for this team.
Andrew McCutchen had an MRI on his left knee on Sunday, according to Joe Girardi’s postgame press conference. Hopefully Cutch isn’t out too long, because he has been playing very consistent, good baseball as of recent. Over his last 15 games, he is hitting .271, with 13 hits, 5 home runs, 10 RBIs, and an OBP of .379.
Rhys Hoskins has not been announced as clear to play yet, but as of Friday, Girardi said he should be good to go for the Nationals series. Over his last 7 games, Rhys Hoskins has slashed a line of .364/2 HR/6 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .773. Getting Hoskins back in the lineup is a boost on the field, as well as a morale booster as well.
Now sitting one game under .500 at 52-53, trailing the Mets by 3.5 games, the Phillies will look to gain some ground on the NL East. It’s time to go on a run.
Upcoming Starters for the Phillies
- Monday: Ranger Suarez (5-3, 1.12 ERA) vs Josiah Gray (0-0, 6.75 ERA)
- Tuesday: Zack Wheeler (8-6, 2.45 ERA) vs Patrick Corbin (6-9, 5.78 ERA)
- Wednesday: Chase Anderson (2-4, 6.75 ERA) vs Paolo Espino (3-2, 3.08 ERA)
- Thursday: Aaron Nola (7-6, 4.30 ERA) vs Joe Ross (5-9, 4.00 ERA)
Mandatory Credit: AP Photos