The Philadelphia Phillies are receiving a boost throughout the lineup during their pronounced hot streak.
“It’s a different guy every day,” Philadelphia interim manager Rob Thomson said.
The Phillies try to keep the good times rolling on Saturday when they play the fourth contest of a five-game series against the host Washington Nationals.
Philadelphia has won the first three games of this series. That means the Phillies have won five consecutive series, something they hadn’t done in 11 years.
And by winning 14 of their first 16 games in June, that’s the best start to any month for Philadelphia in 45 years. The Phillies are 13-2 under Thomson.
Plus, Philadelphia has won its last 11 meetings with Washington.
Different key players have emerged. In Friday’s nightcap, Matt Vierling recorded his first multi-homer game in the majors and Bryce Harper provided a pinch-hit, two-run double against his former team.
“It was a pretty good day at the office, it felt like, for everybody,” Vierling said. “It was definitely long. It wasn’t just the stuff during the game. It was the heat, and the doubleheader and everything like that.”
The Nationals, in turn, have lost seven games in a row. Despite the string of losses, Washington manager Davey Martinez generally was pleased with what he received from his pitchers in Friday’s doubleheader.
“We’ve got to continue to play hard,” Martinez said after the Nationals fell 5-3 in the opener on Friday and 8-7 in 10 innings in the nightcap.
The Nationals were angry by a 10th-inning ruling of obstruction on shortstop Luis Garcia in the second game. That ultimately led to Martinez’s ejection as well as the decisive run in the Phillies’ victory.
“What are we doing?” said Martinez, who likely thought that play should have been ruled as interference on Philadelphia’s Rhys Hoskins. “Honestly, what are we doing?”
Both teams could stand for more precision from their pitchers after the doubleheader. The Phillies were walked a total of 13 times, while the Nationals drew nine free passes in the two games combined.
Right-hander Aaron Nola (4-4, 3.42 ERA) will try to pitch at least six innings in his fifth straight start when he takes the mound on Saturday.
Nola is 6-7 with a 4.35 ERA in 24 career starts against the Nationals. The only team that he has faced more often is the Atlanta Braves, who’ve been his foe for 26 starts.
The Nationals turn to right-hander Josiah Gray (6-4, 4.33), who hasn’t pitched since logging five shutout innings against Miami on June 8. Gray faced the Phillies twice last season, dropping the lone decision in those meetings and registering a 7.00 ERA. He allowed a home run to Harper.
Washington will try to get an emotional boost Saturday as they honor former standout Ryan Zimmerman for his career and impact on the Nationals. The team will retire Zimmerman’s No. 11, which was painted on the field in foul territory along both baselines.
Zimmerman played his entire 16-season career with the franchise.
–Field Level Media