On May 23rd of this season, it looked bleak for the Washington Nationals for 2019 — but since then, the team has won 16-of-23 games and is nearing a return to relevancy. It is fine to allow yourself to find some optimism in what you have seen the last four weeks. Tonight and this weekend continues what the Nationals needed to make a run and chip away at their deficit in the NL East. Last night, the Nationals moved into sole possession of third place which is a stepping stone to where the team needs to be over the next 89 games. The Nats are still 3-games under .500, and to fully overtake the Phillies and Braves, the Nationals will need to climb above that .500 mark.
The team has to continue this daily climb with the old cliché of taking it one game at a time. Tonight’s game has turned into the finale of a three game series after the weather postponement of one of the games of the original four game series that was rescheduled to September 24th. What was originally projected as Aaron Nola versus Stephen Strasburg is now ex-Nats farmhand right-handed Nick Pivetta versus Erick Fedde. The Phillies acquired Pivetta in their trade when they sent the Nats closer Jonathan Papelbon.
Manager Dave Martinez has Howie Kendrick in the starting lineup at second base to give Brian Dozier a day-off. Dozier was 2-for-3 against Pivetta and Gerardo Parra was 3-for-5 against starter Nick Pivetta, but with the small sample sizes, Martinez will go with Kendrick tonight and Matt Adams at first base. The Phillies manager Gabe Kapler is changing up most of his lineup and is leading-off with Bryce Harper with Rhys Hoskins batting second and Jay Bruce after him.
Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, NBC Sports Philadelphia, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):