For the NL East teams, they have been feasting on each other in a feeding frenzy and nobody has run away with the division. The last time the Nationals were in Philadelphia they were healthier than they are now, and won some dramatic games including the comeback win scoring 9 unanswered runs and then the 15-1 victory . The Phillies are only 17-13 and the Mets are 16-15, and they are the two teams atop the NL East. The Nationals at 13-17 are only 4.0 games in the standings from first place. That seems like a gift being this close to the top of the division. The Nats are playing .500 baseball against the NL East and have a winning record against the Phillies so far.
The Nationals will have a slightly different look in the dugout tonight as Paul Menhart moves from minor league pitching coordinator to the Nationals’ pitching coach after Derek Lilliquist was fired yesterday. For manager Dave Martinez, he will have a different bullpen than the last time he was in Philadelphia. We will look for signs to see if there are improvements with Menhart in charge of the pitchers. We expect that Sean Doolittle will not be available tonight after he threw 30 pitches last night. The Nats available bullpen pitchers most likely will be Joe Ross, Matt Grace, Justin Miller, Wander Suero, Tony Sipp, Kyle Barraclough and Dan Jennings.
One of the questions for game-time will be as to the health of Juan Soto who has been scratched from the last two games with back spasms. We don’t expect Soto to start. Rookie call-up Carter Kieboom is expected to be back in the lineup after a day-off yesterday.
Tonight’s starter for the Phillies is the righty Jerad Eichoff who replaced Nick Pivetta in the Phillies rotation. For the Washington Nationals, they will pitch Jeremy Hellickson who had a rough start his last time out against the Padres and was relieved by Erick Fedde who led the Nationals to a dramatic come-from-behind win. Hellickson only threw 55-pitches in that game. Hellickson is 2-0 on the season and the Nationals have that anomaly in opening games of series as they are just 1-9 this season. Maybe the new coach Menhart can change things around.
Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Stadium: Citizens Bank Ballpark, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN; MLB App out-of-market; MLB Network out-of-market
Nats Radio: 106.7 The Fan and via the MLB app
Line-ups subject to change without notice: