The Washington Nationals may have been popping bottles last night in the locker room, but there is still a lot of work left to be done. They were celebrating their clinching win to guarantee at least a spot in the Wild Card Game. As someone who played hockey for 20 years, I guess I don’t get the need for a celebratory mood after just clinching a playoff berth.
The only celebrating in hockey is for winning a league championship, but who am I need to put a damper on the positive vibes in the Nationals’ locker room. The win was spearheaded by a bases clearing grand slam by Trea Turner. With one swing of the bat, the Phillies’ lead evaporated into thin air. Considering how the Nationals were 19-31 to open the season, it’s a comeback of sorts for the Nationals this season.
At that point, it was looking like the Nationals made a mistake not giving Bryce Harper more than what he received from the Phillies. Fast forward to the end of September and the Nationals are celebrating while Bryce is sulking. It almost feels too perfect for the Nationals. They clinch going to the postseason against the Phillies. And by the way, the Nationals were the team responsible for statistically removing the Phillies from the postseason, too.
Harper did connect for a solo jack to close the lead to 1-run last night, but it was too late after the Turner grand slam. Not only did they sign Harper, but the Phillies traded for Jean Segura and JT Realmuto, so this season has been a massive disappointment in Philadelphia. What they do with manager Gabe Kapler will be interesting to watch. The Phillies will try again on Wednesday against Anibal Sanchez. Head below for our free Phillies vs. Nationals pick.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals Pick:
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The Phillies struck early with 3 early runs in the 1st inning against Max Scherzer. It looked like it was going to be a good night for the Phillies, but there’s nine innings in a baseball game. Scherzer was able to settle down and ultimately pitched 6 innings with 4 earned runs allowed. That’s not great for his numbers, but it could have gotten uglier on the bump for Scherzer. Any worse and the Nationals would not have been celebrating last night. Aaron Nola unraveled in the 6th, having allowed 4 earned runs in just 1 inning to finish with 5 earned runs allowed.
Anibal Sanchez enters with some nice numbers as he continues his resurgence in 2019. After a solid year with the Braves last season to prove that he still had something in the tank, Sanchez has done more of the same with the Nationals. He is not on pace to match his ERA of 2.85 from last season, but this is still miles better than his later years in Detroit. Sanchez goes into Wednesday with an ERA of 3.91 and 1.29 WHIP in 159 innings. He’s been on point most recently, with a 2.37 ERA and 0.84 WHIP posted in his previous three outings.
Drew Smyly will look for better results against the Nationals tonight. He’s gotten mauled by the Nationals in the past and will have to be better on the mound for the Phillies to have a chance. The Nationals are hitting .381 with a .418 OBP in 63 at-bats and 13 runs allowed. There are six hitters on the roster that are hitting better than .350 against Smyly.
Washington have been tattooing lefties at a clip of .277 in 2019. Despite clinching a wildcard last night, look for the Nats to hit Smyly well. They might have clinched, but they’re still playing for homefield in that game. The Brewers are coming on hard and in a do-or-die format, having homefield is very important. Washington have gone 8-1 in their previous nine outings against the Phillies and it likely goes to 9-1 on Wednesday. The Phillies have to be feeling over this season. Consider the Nationals again today.