Within their first ten games during the month of June, the Phillies rattled off seven wins. Four of these wins came against the likings of the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees, which made them even more satisfying. However, the fun quickly came to a halt as soon as the Phillies landed out in California.
First up came a three-game set against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Despite keeping that stellar Dodgers’ offense to an average of under three runs a game, the Phillies’ offense still couldn’t keep up. This carried into two of the games against Gabe Kapler’s San Francisco Giants, leading to a 2-6 road trip.
Up next, the Phillies return home for a quick two-game set against the Washington Nationals before hitting the road again. The Nationals are red hot recently, so the Phillies will need to get their act together sooner than later if they want to avoid a really ugly month of June.
Since the Phillies had a weird schedule giving them three days off in a seven-day span, they used the time to readjust their rotation. Spencer Howard‘s scheduled start was skipped, giving Zach Eflin the nod this past Sunday against the Giants. In regard to this series, this lines up Zack Wheeler to go on Tuesday, and then Vince Velasquez on Wednesday.
Zack Wheeler has been the overwhelming “Ace” on the Phillies’ staff this season. He’s pitched in 96.1 total innings in 14 starts, which leads the entire major leagues. The right-hander has a stellar 2.15 ERA and 0.934 WHIP. Wheeler will face off against the Nationals for the third time in 2021. In the previous two starts, he’s accumulated a 2.70 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 13.1 innings of work.
Vinny Velo will get the nod for game two of this quick series. Velasquez has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise in 2021, at least when starting games. However, he did struggle in his lone appearance against Washington this season. The right-hander allowed three runs and four hits in four innings of work back on June 6th.
As of now, the Nationals’ starter for Tuesday night is not *officially* determined due to the key injuries to their starting rotation. However, after a throwing session Saturday, Ace Max Scherzer walked by reporters and said, “See you on Tuesday.” Take that information as you wish. Scherzer is 12-4 with a 2.62 ERA in 22 career starts against the Phillies.
Erick Fedde is lined up to start on Wednesday. Fedde is riding a streak of 20 consecutive scoreless innings. Back on May 11, the right-hander struck out four Phillies while allowing three runs in five innings of work.
Phillies’ Player To Watch
This has to be the strangest thing I’ve written in a long time, but it’s also one of the most honest. Odubel Herrera has been one of the best and most consistent hitters on the team in the past month or so. Even better so, Herrera has consistently been one of the team’s best hitters against the Washington Nationals in his career.
In 2021, Herrera is batting .333 with an OPS of .991 against the Nats. This is slightly higher than his career averages against Washington, which sit at .264 and .757, respectfully. To put the icing on the cake, Herrera has a career .319 batting average against Max Scherzer, which is by far the best in the Phillies’ lineup (minimum of 15 PA’s).
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