Since losing two out of three to the Mets on May 8th-10th, the Phillies have won seven of their last nine games. They've split against both the Pirates and Rockies and swept the Diamondbacks. In that time, they put together a six-game winning streak, their longest since 2012, and got themselves out of last place in the NL East. Ryan Howard's bat is staying hot and Maikel Franco is getting his first every day taste of the big leagues. The Phillies recent stretch will be put to the test this weekend as they begin a three-game series with the first-place Nationals in Washington DC.
Starting Pitching Match-up:
|Philadelphia Phillies (18-25)||Washington Nationals (24-17)|
|RHP||Sean O'Sullivan||RHP||Max Scherzer|
|1-2, 3.68 ERA||4-3, 1.75 ERA|
The Phillies have gotten pretty much what anyone would expect out of Sean O'Sullivan. In three out of his first four starts, he has held opposing teams to three runs or less. In his last start against the Diamondbacks, the 27-year-old right-hander had his best start of the season, tossing six shutout innings, helping lead the Phillies to a 6-0 win. He scattered five hits, walked two and struck out four. O'Sullivan has face the Nationals twice already this season, surrendering a combined six runs over 11 innings. He allowed just two runs in six innings back on April 12th before giving up four runs against the Nats back on April 17th. Though the Phillies have lost three out of four of his starts, he keeps the team in the game and has a good chance at getting a few runs of support with the Phils recent offensive trends.
In two starts against the Phillies this season, Scherzer has allowed just two earned runs in 14 innings, while striking out 17 and walking two. Since 2013, Scherzer is 43-11 with a 2.88 ERA. In three out of four starts this month, he's held opposing teams to just one run. His last time out, against the Padres, the 30-year-old righty pitched seven scoreless frames, allowing just four hits in Washington's 4-1 win.
Philadelphia Phillies (18-25)
|Washington Nationals (24-17)|
|1||LF||Ben Revere||L||1||CF||Denard Span||L|
|2||SS||Freddy Galvis||S||2||SS||Ian Desmond||R|
|3||2B||Chase Utley||L||3||3B||Yunel Escobar||R|
|4||1B||Ryan Howard||L||4||RF||Bryce Harper||L|
|5||3B||Maikel Franco||R||5||1B||Ryan Zimmerman||R|
|6||RF||Grady Sizemore||L||6||C||Wilson Ramos||R|
|7||CF||Odubel Herrera||L||7||LF||Clint Robinson||L|
|8||C||Carlos Ruiz||R||8||2B||Danny Espinosa||R|
|9||P||Sean O'Sullivan||R||9||P||Max Scherzer||R|
- Since April 18th, the Nationals are 17-4, which is best in the majors.
- Chase Utley and Ryan Howard are a combined 1-for-14 against Max Scherzer.
- The Phillies are 3-4 against Washington this year but are a major-league worst 6-15 on the road.
- While it may seem as if Ryan Howard strikes out a lot, he's tied for 19th in MLB in that category with 41, behind the likes of Giancarlo Stanton (55), Chris Davis (57), Chris Carter (57) and Justin Upton (42).
- Bryce Harper has taken Sean O'Sullivan deep twice in five at-bats against him.
- The Phillies are last in Major League Baseball when it comes to hitting home runs, with just 24 long balls on the year. Washington has hit 47.
- Despite the struggles of some of the Phillies bullpen arms, they have a combined 3.40 ERA, good for 13th in baseball.
- Ryne Sandberg is all about the fundamentals, but currently the Phillies have committed 33 errors, tied for 27th in baseball. They had 83 all of last season.
- There is only one Phillies player with more than one run batted in against Max Scherzer. Jeff Francoeur is .222 against him during his career with two doubles, a triple, a home run, 11 strikeouts and two RBI's.
Gametime: 7:05pm EST
Location: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Weather: 74 degrees, clear skies
TV: NBC 10
Radio: 94 WIP, 1210 WPHT, SBP 1480 (Sp.)
Brandon Apter, Publishing Editor for Philliedelphia.com