Before the season began, this series at first look likely would have been predicted to be lopsided. The Phillies were coming off a 66-96 season and finished 5th in the NL East. Needless to say, there weren’t many people who expected the Phillies to get a big pop in 2018. If you follow baseball religiously, you might be the exception, though. The Nationals trail the Phillies in the NL East by 1.5 games and are 3 games behind the division leading Atlanta Braves. The Phillies and Braves are making the NL East a whole lot more interesting.
The notion of the Nationals owning the division is long gone. And meanwhile in New York, the Mets have fallen off the map. The Phillies put the Nats on blast Friday night with a 12-2 win. They followed it up with another victory on Saturday by a score of 5-3. Closer, but the Nationals lost their second in a row against the Phillies in their own backyard. It was the Phillies sixth win in their last seven games.
The Nats will have another shot at the Phillies on national television Sunday night. They will send rookie Jefry Rodriguez to the mound in an attempt to salvage the weekend series. Rodriguez has made only one start in his young career with the Nationals. That came against the Orioles on May 19th. It could have been a much better outing for him. His only other appearance in the majors came in relief duty against the Braves. He will be asked to prevent a sweep against the Phillies on Sunday Night Baseball. The Phillies will counter with Nick Pivetta. Head below for our free Phillies vs. Nationals pick for Sunday night.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals Pick
Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) vs. Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66 ERA)
After Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez, things begin to get a bit scary for the Nationals in their rotation. Erick Fedde and Rodriguez are anchoring the back of the rotation. That anchor isn’t proving to be so reliable for the Nationals. Fedde has yielded an ERA of 5.32 in four starts, while Rodriguez enters with an ERA of 4.66 in 9.2 innings of work. He looked good in his debut out of the bullpen, but got wrecked against the O’s in his first ever start in the major leagues. The O’s hammered him for 5 runs in 5 innings. He also allowed 4 hits and 3 walks. The deep ball got to him, as the Orioles belted 2. It still wasn’t enough, though, as the offense simply outscored the O’s by a score of 9-7.
Nick Pivetta must be better on the road than he’s been this season for the Phillies to get the sweep. He enters with an ERA of 6.23 and .350 OBA on the road in 2018. Pivetta made 26 starts a year ago as a rookie and finished with a 6.02 ERA. The last time he was in Washington he lasted just 1 inning, as he allowed a whopping 5 hits and 6 runs before he got 3 outs. In 47 at-bats, the Nationals have demolished Pivetta, with a .426 batting average and 5 dingers. Bryce Harper has only seen him four times and he’s already hit 2 homers. Pivetta is known for his curveball, but he hasn’t been able to fool the Nationals with it yet. There should be some fireworks for the nightcap on Sunday on the diamond. I recommended taking a look at the OVER.