The Philadelphia Phillies started the ‘new-look’ era with a rain-shortened win over the Washington Nationals yesterday. We may have already had a peak at both David Robertson and Edmundo Sosa in a Phillies uniform prior to yesterday, but it marked the arrival of new rotation stablemate Noah Syndergaard and center fielder/professional caveman Brandon Marsh. Add in a returning Jean(ie-bo-beanie) Segura, and the Phillies were ready to kick-off the rest of the season with a bang… or should I say some Thor inspired thunder and lightning?
It may not have been a pretty debut for the former New York Met, but Syndergaard still left the ballpark last night with his first victory for his new squad – thanks in large part to Alec Bohm‘s scorching hot bat and a rare clutch defensive play from Nick Castellanos.
Philly will look to continue their winning ways against Washington. With the addition of Luke Voit and the loss of basically anyone else of offensive prowess on the team, this shouldn’t be too much of a struggle for the scorchin’ Fightin’s. Will Voit figure out a way to be a man amongst, well, young men? Will the former Phillies in Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco add to their output from yesterday’s contest? Or will a returning Kyle Gibson and the Phillies new-and-improved lineup carry them over a weak Nats squad? Let’s break it down.
Josiah Gray (7-7, 4.59 ERA) vs Kyle Gibson (6-4 4.60 ERA)
Gibson missed his last turn through the rotation, but was activated from the bereavement list yesterday in time for today’s game. Gibby had a rough go two starts ago, only lasting 4.1 innings and giving up 6 earned runs, shooting his ERA from 4.35 to 4.69. He did bounce back before stepping away from the team with six strong innings, allowing only two runs.
Surprisingly, Gibson hasn’t faced the Nats since joining the Phillies. He has two career games against the team from D.C. from back in 2016 and 2019 and did not fair well, but this is a very different team than those. This season, the Nats have a solid slashline against ground-ball pitchers like Gibson and have done very well against right-handed pitching, but they were a much different team with righty mashers like Bell and Soto. Without those studs and the Phillies improved defense, I would expect a strong outing from Gibson – going another six innings, but with minimal strikeouts.
Gray is another curious story. Once a highly touted prospect in the Dodgers organization, he has had a lot of opportunity to pitch at the big league level since being included in the trade that sent Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to the Dodgers last season. While his ERA is high, he has pitched very well against the Phillies this year. In two starts, he is sporting a 1.50 ERA across 12 innings with 15 strikeouts – including an 11 strikeout performance in Citizens Bank Park just a month ago. That was a pitchers duel against “Return of the Ace” Aaron Nola let up a two-run double in the seventh. If the Phillies can get to Gray early and carry the momentum from yesterday, they should be able to bring Gray’s numbers against them closer to his season stats.
Neither pitcher is known to go very deep in games, so if it comes down to the bullpens – I will trust the hot hand and give confidence to the revamped Philly pen to hold on and gives the Phillies another win.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky