Following a few days of rain, the (39-34) Philadelphia Phillies and (35-38) Washington Nationals finally began their four-game series on Wednesday with a double header, in which Washington won both games.
Now, entering into game three today (7.05 PM ET Thursday), the Phillies are desperately looking for a win to keep pace with the (44-31) Atlanta Braves, who lead the NL East.
The Phillies began the year looking like one of the best teams in the NL East, having signed Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen among others. However, lately, the injury bug has bitten Philadelphia in a big way and several of the team’s biggest contributors have found themselves on the shelf.
Primarily, the Phillies have suffered from injuries to their bullpen, which had already been somewhat of a shaky unit. Overall, one of the NL’s best has fallen far and right now, the Nationals seem poised to pick up the pieces. The Phillies opened their series with the Nationals, a series that was supposed to begin this past Monday, with a day game in which the team allowed six runs in the loss.
Overall, it was the Phillies fifth loss in their last seven games. In that span, the team’s pitching has specifically suffered, giving up at least nine runs in three of the seven games. Philadelphia’s pitching had always been an issue, even early in the season, as the team found itself on the losing end of more than a handful of one-run games due to their lackluster bullpen. Now, the Phillies, who as recently as the beginning of the month of June led the NL East, find themselves four games back of the Braves with the Nationals, hot on their trail.
Washington, for all of their struggles in the early going, have gone 7-3 in their last 10 compared to the Phillies mark of 3-7. The Nationals have scored big in several of their wins during the streak, hitting nine runs or more three times. Also opposite to the Phillies, the Nationals have found success thanks to their arms, which have been superbly crisp. In game two against the Phillies of the day-night doubleheader, Max Scherzer even pitched with a broken nose and black eye sustained from an errant bunting incident in batting practice. He still managed to strike out 10 and defeat the Phillies 2-0.
Right now, the Nationals, despite the worse record, are playing like the better team, a far cry from the last time the Phillies came to town when Bryce Harper made the team who drafted him feel his loss in a major way. The Nationals have made the NL East a three-team race again thanks to the way they have performed against the Phillies so far.
Probable Pitchers: (PHI) Nick Pivetta vs (WAS) Erick Fedde
It’s a pretty even pitching matchup set for today’s game three as Nick Pivetta takes the mound against Erick Fedde.
Pivetta has had an up-and-down season complete with a trip to the minor leagues to try to right his mindset. Since returning, he has been nothing short of brilliant, going 4-1 in his last seven games pitched with a 4.69 ERA including a complete game one-run effort against the Cincinnati Reds on June 8th. Pivetta dazzled in that outing, striking out six, walking none and allowing just six hits. It was Pivetta’s best start of the year. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to follow that up in his next contest, allowing four runs in just over six innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Given the divisional connection, Pivetta has faced several of the Nationals hitters on many an occasion. He has a 1-0 record and 2.08 ERA overall but he has allowed several Nationals’ players to hit pretty well off of him. Guys such as Juan Soto, Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon are all batting over .300 in at least 10 plate appearances against the Phillies righty.
Much like Pivetta, Fedde is a young pitcher, having made his major league debut five years ago. He is having the best year of his career in 2019, pitching to a 1-1 record in 10 starts with a career best 3.68 ERA in 10 games played. He has made five starts, such as he will be on Thursday night. With a bread-and-butter pitch of his sinker, Fedde has proved to be an important member of the Nationals rotation in 2019, especially of recently as he’s pitched to a 3.68 ERA in his last 15 games and 2.08 ERA in his last three starts. Fedde has not faced the Phillies all that much save for Rhys Hoskins and Cesar Hernandez who lead the team in having nine at-bats against the Nationals righty. Hernandez is batting .500 with four hits and Hoskins is hitting .143 with just one hit, a home run, against Fedde.
On paper, Fedde seems to have the advantage as far as the player matchups, however, when looking at stadiums, Pivetta might hold the edge. At home, Fedde’s pitching to a 4.12 ERA. However, in night games, he’s a pathetic 7.11 ERA, something that could play into things tonight.
Right now, the Phillies are desperate for a victory. Injuries have hit them hard both in their pitching and offensive lineups and as a result, the team is falling down the standings. They will look to Pivetta to get them back on track and as far as pitching matchups this series, Pivetta vs Fedde could be the most even one on the books.
Our Betting Preview’s Philadelphia Phillies vs Washington Nationals Predictions for Game 3 with Picks Verdict
Both the Phillies and Nationals find themselves in a situation where they need to keep pace with the Braves in the NL East and this series has proved pivotal in that regard. While a loss won’t kill the Phillies chances in the division, the Nationals could definitely feel the implications of possibly going back nine games in the NL East. With the Braves surging, winning eight of their last 10, this series holds monumental importance for playoff implications. Here are our Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals predictions for this game three, advising our selections at the best odds available from the sports betting websites for Americans: