Series Preview: Phillies Gear Up for a Massive 3 Game Set vs the Washington Nationals
The last series of August is upon us, and man, is it a big one. The Phillies closed out their four-game series vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday, with a crucial 7-4 victory. Sitting at 66-64 and just 4.5 games out of first place, the Phillies will travel to Washington DC to take on the Nationals.
This year, the Phillies have handled the Nationals well, going 9-7 in their 16 games played. With the Braves heading out West to take on the Los Angeles Dodgers, now is the time for the Phillies to gain their ground back in the NL East.
Phillies Injury Updates
Rhys Hoskins will obviously not be on the field with the team, as he is out for the year with a groin injury. From reports, it seems like Brad Miller and JT Realmuto will be splitting time at 1st for the remainder of the season. Losing Hoskins is very tough for this team, who was hitting .364/.417/1.000 over his last 7 games, with 8 hits, 4 home runs, and 8 RBIs.
Regarding Realmuto, he could miss a game in this series after leaving Sunday’s game with ankle soreness. The census at first was that Realmuto fouled a pitch off of his ankle early in the game on Sunday, where he would exit the inning after. Girardi said after the game that JT rolled his ankle on that pitch and is “day to day”.
With JT potentially out for a game or two, and Andrew Knapp on the COVID list, the catcher position is as thin as it can be. Rafael Marchan can hold down the fort temporarily but expect a potential move to be made from Lehigh in the coming days, just as a backup plan.
Starting Pitching Matchups
Zack Wheeler will get the ball for the Phillies in the series opener on Monday night, going up against Josiah Gray. Wheeler has been dominant all season and is in the hunt for the NL Cy Young. With only a few starts left in his season, every outing matters for that award, but more importantly, the team.
Matt Moore will go up against Patrick Corbin on Tuesday, the battle of the high ERA lefties. We all know how Matt Moore has pitched this season, but those worries haven’t been as prominent recently. Take away the Diamondbacks series, and he hasn’t been terrible over his last few starts. Moore will look to put this team in a position to win on Tuesday, which is all you can ask from a guy like him. (Please, for the love of God. Take the over. Trust me on this one.)
Aaron Nola will take the hill in the series finale on Wednesday. Nola is in the middle of one of the weirdest seasons I have ever watched from a Phillies pitcher. He’s been lockdown, awful, and every little thing in-between. A dominant Nola is key for the Phillies’ success, and with the team entering its last month of regular season play, that dominance needs to start coming consistently.
Key Players to Watch
Odubel Herrera is in the middle of an extremely hot August. Odubel’s start to the season was very inconsistent, but over the last month and a half, he’s really picked it up at the plate. He’s slashing .313/.353/.557 over his last 15 games, with 15 hits, 4 home runs, and 6 RBIs. Herrera has been a spark in the leadoff spot the last month and a consistent bat that the Phillies can rely on.
Our MVP, Bryce Harper, will look to continue his fantastic season this week in his old home. Harper is hitting .319/.468/.745 over his last 30 games and has started 40 games straight. With 32 games left and the playoffs possibly coming down to the last series, I don’t see Bryce sitting a game out the rest of the year. Bryce loves hitting in DC, and he’ll head back to his former park this weekend looking to keep crushing the baseball.
A huge series is upon us to start off this week. The Phillies will head to Washington DC to take on the Washington Nationals. Now is the time to gain ground back in the NL East, and what better team to do it against than the Nationals?
The Phillies are an emotional roller-coaster, everyone knows that, but there is still one month of baseball yet to be played. The Hunt for Red October continues in Philadelphia.
Mandatory Credit: USA Today Sports