Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick
Washington Nationals (13-17) at Philadelphia Phillies (17-13)
When: Friday, May 3, 2019
Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Opening Line: WSH +153/PHI -163
Line at Time of Print: (10AM ET) Tor +102/LAA -112 (5dimes)
Runline: Nats +1.5 (-134)/Phils -1.5 (+121)
Starting Pitchers: Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 5.82 ERA, 1.66 WHIP vs. Jerad Eickhoff (1-1, 2.12 ERA, 1.00 WHIP)
Jeremy Hellickson has to be getting sick of the Phillies by now, especially considering they’re the team that he used to pitch for. In five pitching appearances, two have come against Philadelphia, making up eight of the 21.2 innings he’s pitched this year. In two starts against them, Hellickson has one strong showing, where he pitched six shutout innings and scattered three hits, and one poor one, where he conceded two runs in two innings during an 8-2 loss. Weirdly enough, his strong outing against Philadelphia came in hitter-haven Citizens Bank Park, and he struggled at his more pitcher-friendly home stadium.
Maybe seeing the familiar red and white of the Phils will get Hellickson back on track, as he is not pitching well as of late. His past two starts have resulted in 11 runs and 15 hits, and while one of those can be explained by the thin air at Colorado’s Coors Field, there’s no excuse for coughing up five earned runs to the light-hitting Padres. Hellickson couldn’t make it to the fourth inning against San Diego in his most recent start, needing the bullpen to rescue him and steal a 7-6 win.
Flash in the Pan?
So far, making Jerad Eickhorn a starter is paying off for the Phillies. He’s the rare starting pitcher who actually has a save to his name, as he pitched four innings of a 14-3 rout of the Mets on April 16, earning the save through the three-inning rule. Since then, he’s pitched beautifully against Miami, holding the Marlins to a mere two hits in a shutout. He wasn’t great against Colorado, but few pitchers are great in Denver, so that performance gets an asterisk. It’s still not a sure thing that this performance is real, as he’s only done it against the Marlins, but it’s an encouraging start nonetheless.
Run, Run, Run
When these two teams get together, it’s tended to be a high-scoring affair. Only once have the squads combined to score less than 10 runs, a 4-3 win for the Phillies. Otherwise, the squads have reached 16 runs on three occasions, all of them wins for the Nationals. The Phillies are 2-3 against the Nationals this year, and both of their wins came when the Nationals had trouble scoring. Let us know if you disagree with this statement but if the Washington offense gets going, that means the Phillies probably won’t be able to keep up.
Metastable to Chaos
The Nationals have been a struggling team so far this year, so it’s only natural that someone on the squad could pay for it with their job. Sure enough, that’s what happened after the Nats put up a grand total of eight runs in four games against St. Louis: the pitching coach was fired.
Wait a minute, what? Yes, the Nationals removed pitching coach Derek Lilliquist when it’s the offense that’s really letting them down. Honestly, the Nationals have done fairly well on the hill; it’s their issuses at the plate that are really costing them. Washington has managed to top six runs without extra innings just six times this year, and three are against the Phillies.
In the teams’ most recent meeting, also in Philadelphia, the Nationals exploded for 28 runs in three games, while the Phillies scored just 11. They managed to take one of three from the Nats, but their offense simply has to be better if they’re going to keep their lead on Washington.
- The Nationals are 11-2 in their past 13 games when the opponent scored five or more runs in the previous game.
- The Nationals are 4-1 in Hellickson’s
- .The Phillies are 6-1 in their past seven home games after an off day.
- The Phils are 4-1 in their past five home games aainst right handed pitchers.
- The visiting Nationals are down an outfielder, as Juan Soto remains out with back spasms.
- The Phillies appear to be healthy.
The weather is expected to hover in the mid 50’s for the entire night, a good but not great temperature for baseball.
I just cannot trust the Washington offense here. The Nats haven’t been able to hit well against other opponents, and while they have hit the Phillies well, they’ve also shown signs of slippage. They’re not hitting it well at the moment, which is why they’re going off at such an attractive price. However, I’m not trying to go over the top and outsmart everyone; I’m trying to just get the win and go onto the next day. I expect the Phillies to keep rolling and keep frustrating the Nationals, so I’m going to reluctantly lay the high price and take the Phillies in this one.