December 10, 2023

Series Preview: Nationals at Phillies, August 4 – 7


Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

“That’s an example of all the little things are just as important as the big things,” Castellanos said. “Everything matters.”

If the little things didn’t matter, the Phillies would have been coming back to Citizens Bank Park after a loss and a sweep. Instead, J.T. Realmuto’s hustle allowed Nick Castellanos to play the hero in game two in Atlanta.

But now, the Phillies will play the Soto-less Nationals in a four-game series in Philadelphia as the Phillies look to work their way to being well above .500. Right now, the Phillies are 56-48. But many of their upcoming opponents are performing poorly in 2022, meaning the Phillies have no excuse for not being 12 to 15 games over .500 by the beginning of September.

Last time they met

The Phillies have had lots of success against the 2019 world champions, and with the Phils fighting for the last playoff spot in the National League, continuing that success now is more than crucial. The Nationals dumped their two best players at the trade deadline and own the worst record in the National League.

Offensive inconsistencies were clear when the Phillies met the Nats in early July, but the Phillies’ elite pitching was enough to set back Washington. An offensive explosion in game one and a strong bullpen in game two allowed the Phillies to take two of three the last time the two clubs faced off.

And in favor of the Phillies, the competition is ever more lopsided this time.

A series of “firsts”

“Firsts” are always something to remember in a player’s career, similar to how parents always remember their child’s first steps and words. The Phillies will have three new faces as they return to South Philly, and many are wondering how many steps the newbies will be able to take.

Noah Syndergaard, a former foe but current apple of many Phillies’ fan’s eyes, will make his first start as a Phillie to open the four-game series. Syndergaard had a 3.83 ERA in eighty innings with the Angels. The 29-year-old righty has a fastball in the mid-nineties and a curveball and slider with good bite.

Another former Angel, Brandon Marsh, will bat ninth and play centerfield in his Phillies debut.

And for the first time since May, Jean Segura will put on a Phillies uniform. A bunting mistake turned finger injury kept him sidelined for over two months, and his presence was missed. Segura is an excellent situational hitter and hits consistently for a high average.

And the last “first” in this series will be surrounding the Washington Nationals. Juan Soto and Josh Bell were traded to the Padres in exchange for Luke Voit and prospects, so tonight will be the first time in almost a half-decade that Juan Soto is not a part of the Nationals organization. Soto has a .291 career average and 119 home runs during his five major league seasons.

Bring the bats

The Phillies averaged just two runs per game during the Atlanta series, which is far from enough under normal circumstances. The Phillies have gotten away with having poor offensive performances against the Nationals in the past, but it is also important for the Phillies to use this series to get some momentum started ahead of a long road trip.

So while a series win would be the lowest expectation, four strong offensive games would set a good tone for what should be an easy schedule in August.

Pitching matchups

Game 1: Noah Syndergaard (RHP, 5-8, 3.83 ERA) vs. Paolo Espino (RHP, 0-3, 3.78 ERA)

Game 2: Kyle Gibson (RHP, 6-4, 4.6 ERA) vs. Josiah Gray (RHP, 7-7, 4.59 ERA)

Game 3: Ranger Suarez (LHP, 7-5, 3.6 ERA) vs. Patrick Corbin (LHP, 4-15, 6.57 ERA)

Game 4: Aaron Nola (RHP, 7-8, 3.25 ERA) vs. Cory Abbott (RHP, 0-0, 9 innings, 1 ER)

The numbers

  • Run Differential:
  • Phillies: 48
  • Nationals: -172
  • Runs Scored Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.62
  • Nationals: 3.83
  • Runs Allowed Per Game:
  • Phillies: 4.15
  • Nationals: 5.45

Game times and broadcasts

  • Thursday, August 4, at 7:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Friday, August 5, at 7:05pm ET on Apple TV Plus, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Saturday, August 6, at 6:05pm ET on NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP
  • Sunday, August 7, at 1:35pm ET on MLB Network, NBC Sports Philadelphia, WTTM 1680, 94.1 WIP

Game coverage will be available on Philly Sports Reports’ Twitter page.

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