The Philadelphia Phillies rode the hot arm of Jared Eickhoff, as made it past the Washington Nationals by a score of 4-2 on Friday. Eickhoff allowed just 3 hits and 1 run in the contest, while four different relievers out of the bullpen were sharp across 4 innings of play. The Phillies advanced to 18-13 with the victory and opened up a 2.5-game lead in the NL East.
They are the favorites to win the division after acquiring Bryce Harper and I don’t think much has changed in that regard. The Phillies are still the team to beat after a month of play, but there is still going to be some company for them. They’ve been getting some help recently from the Mets, as they’ve cooled off considerably after a hot start in 2019.
Philadelphia will likely have some company, but it’s not going to come from the Nationals. Bryce Harper’s former team has some holes to fill after he departed for a new team in the offseason. He decided on staying in the NL East and going to Philadelphia for a lot of bucks.
Harper can say what he wants, but it’s pretty clear why he picked the Phillies over other teams. Then again, it didn’t appear like he was ever going to choose the Nationals. Bryce had one foot out the door before the season was done. If the Phillies go on to win the division and do damage in the postseason, then his departure is going to sting even more.
If guys like Eickhoff can pitch like he did yesterday consistently, then the Phillies are going to have a good chance of making some noise. The bottom of the rotation performing like that would provide a considerable boost. Philadelphia go back to the top of the rotation with Jake Arrieta this evening. The Nationals are expected to counter with former Diamondback, Patrick Corbin. Head below for our free Nationals vs. Phillies pick.
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick:
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Arrieta is coming off a less than desirable start against Marlins. Surprisingly enough, his worst start of the year by far was against the Marlins, who rank 30th in the majors offensively. Arrieta got tagged for 9 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings. He was pitching extremely well up to that point, so it was a bit of a double surprise to see him out of sorts. Perhaps Arrieta took the Marlins lightly and didn’t prepare properly, but he was certainly out of character. His overall body of work has been solid, though, as he enters tonight with an ERA of 3.46. Despite that outlier, Arrieta still carries nice numbers.
He hadn’t allowed more than 3 runs in a start before the Marlins took care of business. Arrieta has done a fine job against the Nationals in his career, holding them to a .259 batting average in 135 at-bats. The Nats are hitting just .233 against right-handed pitching this year. Patrick Corbin is coming off his roughest outing of the season as well. He was snake bitten by the Cardinals for 6 hits and 6 runs in 5 innings. Just like Arrieta, Corbin didn’t allow more than 3 runs in any start until he got upended in his most recent effort. Corbin owns a similar ERA as well, with a mark of 3.58 in 37.2 innings on the bump.
He’s been slightly worse on the road with an ERA of 3.75. The Phillies have done well against Corbin with a batting average of .271 and .336 OBP in 96 plate appearances. This should be a close final score on Saturday, but I ultimately like Arrieta to respond after such a dreadful performance against a dreadful offense. After falling asleep at the wheel, expect Arrieta to lead his team to victory against the Nationals in the second of their three-game series.