After a four-game series against the Atlanta Braves that showed exactly why the Phillies have been the most .500 of all .500 teams, they’ll now welcome another division rival, the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals appear to be fading from contention, and there are rumors that they might become trade deadline sellers.

Can the Phillies prove that they should be buyers? Can they prove they should be sellers? Can they prove anything? Not usually, honestly.

Here’s a few storylines for this week’s series.

The last time they met, since then

The Nationals came to Philadelphia for two games in late June and won both of them.

The first game was the one where Max Scherzer threw a hissy fit when he was getting checked for illegal substances. The second game may have been one of the worst games in Phillies history.

That victory didn’t spring the Nats to success, as they’re just 10-17 since that series. They come into this series on a four-game losing streak, including a sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles.

Is Scherzer on the move?

Scherzer has had another strong season for the Nats, but it seems like his time in Washington may be coming to an end.

Apparently, getting swept by the last place Orioles convinced the Nats’ front office that 2021 is not their year, and are open to selling pieces, with Scherzer being the most appealing. He’s due to be a free agent at the end of this season, so this would be a rental, but he’d be an upgrade for just about every team’s rotation.

Scherzer has been dealing with an injury, and may or may not start against the Phillies on Thursday.

Bats need to wake up

Against the Braves, the Phillies received two excellent starts from their rotation. And they needed those efforts, because the Phillies offense spent most of the weekend making a not-so-good Braves pitching staff look great.

The Nationals’ pitching staff is probably worse than the Braves, so it would be nice if the Phillies started scoring runs. The biggest piece in the recent struggles has been a lack of success with runners in scoring position.

Here’s a good stat from @tgpschmenk on Twitter:

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Spencer Howard (RHP | 0-2, 5.11 ERA) vs. Joe Ross (RHP | 5-8, 4.02 ERA)
Game 2: Matt Moore (LHP | 0-2, 5.79 ERA) vs. Erick Fedde (RHP | 4-7, 4.88 ERA)
Game 3: Zack Wheeler (RHP | 8-5, 2.37 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (LHP | 6-9, 4.50 ERA)
Game 4: Vince Velasquez (RHP | 3-5, 5.54 ERA) vs. TBD

The numbers

Run Differential:
Phillies: -23
Nationals: -26

Runs Scored Per Game:
Phillies: 4.48
Nationals: 4.34

Runs Allowed Per Game:
Phillies: 4.71
Nationals: 4.60

Game times and broadcasts

  • Monday, July 26 at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Tuesday, July 23 at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Wednesday, July 24 at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP
  • Thursday, July 25 at 1:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, 94.1 WIP