The Phillies were able to finally get one over against the Marlins last night thanks to a heroic walk-off from Garrett Stubbs. The team now prepares for a short trip to face the 23-42 Washington Nationals.
The good news is that the Phillies should go into this series with a sizable advantage. It’s scary to think that they’re 32-31, when only a matter of weeks ago, they were scrapping to get above 500. They’ve now won 11 of their last 13 games, 2 of which came against the Marlins in their most recent series.
It seems as if things are finally clicking under interim manager Rob Thomson. The bullpen is still a glaring area of need, but the rookie errors and awful decisions that plagued this team early on have evaporated, leaving the offense to do what it does best.
Bryce Harper leads an offense that now has 304 runs on the season and a .252 batting average. They rank 8th in the MLB in hits, 7th in batting percentage, and 4th in slugging. That doesn’t bode well for a team that has the league’s worst ERA.
Harper himself is batting .317 and has 15 dingers on the year. It would not surprise me to see one or two more this series.
The Nationals will be heavily reliant on Juan Soto and company to keep them in this series. The Nats actually have a higher batting percentage than the Phils, but rank 19th in RBI’s. There’s a clear issue in converting those hits to runs
Patrick Corbin (3-8, 6.65 ERA) vs Zack Wheeler (5-3, 2.84 ERA)
You don’t need to go into deep analytics to decipher who has the advantage here. This has Wheelsday written all over it. Zack Wheeler hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs in any of his last five starts, while Patrick Corbin usually averages that every few innings.
If the Phillies can deal some damage early, this has the potential to be messy.
The Phillies are clear favorites going into this matchup, but there’s no reason to try and play it smart here. This game should have an obvious outcome. Phillies -1.5 is my play today.
AP Photo/Chris Szagola