The Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies have built up a nice rivalry through the years, but it has gone up a notch since Bryce Harper switched teams. Harper was the star in Washington DC, and the fans in Philadelphia are hoping he returns to that player in the second half. Both teams are well back in the National League East but are right in the middle of the National League Wild Card race.
Washington got off to a horrible start to the season, but they have rebounded nicely. The Nationals come into this game with a record of 47-42 and would be in the playoffs if it started today. Philadelphia would also be in the playoffs with the second Wild Card spot, but they have plenty of teams on their heels. The Phillies come into this game with a record of 47-43 on the season. Washington is -140 over the Phillies in the series opener on Friday night.
Rendon Powering Nationals Offense
Third baseman Anthony Rendon is one of the most underrated players in the Major Leagues, but he is appreciated by Nationals fans. Rendon leads the team with a .304 batting average to go along with 20 bombs and 62 runs batted in. Washington has seven players with at least 10 home runs this season, and their offense hasn’t missed a beat since Harper left to join the Phillies. The Nationals will score plenty of runs in this game.
Stephen Strasburg has had a tough time in the last few seasons, but he is back to being one of the top arms in the National League. Strasburg comes into this game with a record of 10-4 to go along with a very respectable 3.64 earned run average. The Nationals will need a long start from their powerful right-hander as their bullpen has been a wreck all season long.
Phillies Struggling to Hit For Average
The Philadelphia Phillies don’t have any trouble hitting the ball out of the ballpark, but they do have trouble getting runners on base. The Phillies are hitting just .246 on the season, and Cesar Hernandez leads the team with a .285 batting average. Philadelphia is also waiting for Bryce Harper to turn things around after he hit just 16 home runs in the first half of the season.
Philadelphia will be looking for some pitching help before the trade deadline as their starting rotation has really struggled. Right-hander Nick Pivetta will take the mound on Friday night, and the Nationals have hit him hard this season. Pivetta has an ERA of 13.00 against Washington this season and is just 4-3 overall in 2019.
Nationals Win Series Opener
Having Strasburg on the mound in this game gives the Nationals a huge advantage over the Phillies. Strasburg is pitching like an ace again, and the Nationals have been scoring plenty of runs of late. Philadelphia is always tough to beat at home, but Washington has the tools to get the job done. Bet the Washington Nationals -140 over the Philadelphia Phillies in this game.
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