The Philadelphia Phillies bring their hot streak to the nation’s capital on Thursday when they open a five-game series against the slumping Washington Nationals.
The Phillies lost 14 of their first 20 games against National League East rivals before taking two of three games against the Miami Marlins this week. Philadelphia recorded its 11th win in 13 outings in style on Wednesday, courtesy of Garrett Stubbs’ walk-off, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning.
“It feels good to win a series against anybody, and that’s our fourth in a row,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said after the 3-1 triumph. “To win a series against a team in the division is huge.”
Philadelphia will look to continue its momentum on Thursday against a Washington club that has lost four in a row and seven of its past nine games. The Nationals reside comfortably in the basement of the NL East, and the entire National League, for that matter.
“The message I’ve said is, ‘These are major league teams. Anyone can beat anyone,'” Thomson said of facing Washington. “We need to be consistent in our preparation and lay it all out there.
“Winning in your division is huge. We need to go down there and play some good ball. Getting the win (on Wednesday) is huge. It gives us back a little momentum getting on that train for Washington.”
Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins has been on the right track of late, going 17-for-38 (.447) with five homers and 11 RBIs in his past nine games. He is 8-for-26 with two solo homers in his career vs. Washington’s Thursday starter, Patrick Corbin (3-8, 6.65 ERA).
Philadelphia will give the start to Zack Wheeler (5-3, 2.84 ERA). The right-hander has been chugging along, winning each of his past five decisions.
Wheeler, 32, won his second straight start and fourth in five outings on Saturday after scattering two hits and striking out eight over six innings in a 4-0 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Wheeler has struggled vs. Washington in his career, however. He is 8-14 with a 4.59 ERA in 26 career starts against the Nationals.
As for Corbin, he has won his past two starts despite allowing seven runs and 16 hits in a total of 12 innings. The 32-year-old overcame two homers in six-plus innings on Saturday in an 8-6 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Corbin owns a 6-5 record with a 3.83 ERA in 15 career starts vs. Philadelphia.
The Nationals have played their past two games without star Juan Soto, who banged his right knee on the corner of the bench during Washington’s 9-5 loss to the Braves on Monday. Atlanta subsequently swept the three-game series, capped by an 8-2 decision on Wednesday.
Washington manager Davey Martinez has been extremely cautious with Soto. When asked what he wants to see out of Soto before inserting him into the lineup, Martinez said, “Everything.”
“He’s got to run. He’s got to hit,” Martinez added. “I want to make sure he’s OK. So, hopefully he’s good to go, but we’ll see.”
–Field Level Media