The Philadelphia Phillies’ precarious playoff hopes are put on the line on Monday when they open a five-game series with their National League East rivals, the Washington Nationals. The two teams will play five games over the next four days, including a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday.
Philadelphia comes into the series tied with Arizona, six games behind both the Nationals and the Brewers for the two Wild Card spots in the National League with just eight games to play in the regular season. The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets are also ahead of the Phillies in the chase for the Wild Card. Washington, meanwhile, is still fighting to clinch a playoff spot and is trying to fight off the red-hot Brewers — winners of four straight — for the right to host the Wild Card Game.
The moneyline for this contest has the Philadelphia Phillies +180 and the Washington Nationals -195. The over/under for the game has been set at 9.
Needing A Miracle
Philadelphia would basically need to be perfect the rest of the regular season and get a lot of help in order to make the postseason. But, as any manager will say, they can only focus on one game at a time. For the opener, Philadelphia will have Zach Eflin on the mound for his 27th start of the season. Eflin enters the game with a 9-12 mark and a 4.00 ERA. He’s coming off possibly his best start of the season, a win over Atlanta in which he went seven innings and held the Braves to five hits and one unearned run, walking two and striking out four.
The Phillies’ offense has been very inconsistent, as shown by their three-game series against Cleveland over the weekend. In their one win in the series, the Phillies scored nine runs, but in their two losses, they scored a total of three runs. While Bryce Harper would probably like to do well in front of his old fans in Washington, he hasn’t had the greatest of stats against the Nationals this season. Harper is batting .250 with two home runs and eight RBI in 48 at-bats against his former teammates.
Although the postseason seems like an inevitability for the Nationals considering the sudden slump of the Chicago Cubs, they do need to deal with the fact that Milwaukee is poised to pass them in the standings. While Washington has eight games to play, all at home, Milwaukee has just six, though all of those will be on the road. Patrick Corbin will take the mound for Washington to try to start to get this series started right. Corbin is 13-7 on the season with a 3.10 ERA and has won three of his last four decisions, including wins at Minnesota and St. Louis in his last two starts.
Anthony Rendon continues to be the man for Washington offensively, leading the team or tied for the team lead with a .325 batting average, 34 home runs, 120 RBI and 114 runs scored. The third baseman ranks in the top three of the National League in batting average, RBI, runs and slugging percentage (.609). Juan Soto is also dangerous at the plate, tying Rendon for the team lead with 34 home runs, though he’s struggled over the last week, managing just one hit in 18 at-bats, though he has walked eight times over that span.
Nationals Get Win
Although Philadelphia still has an outside chance at a postseason berth, the Phillies have to know that their season will end come Sunday. Washington certainly has a lot more to play for and has been playing better overall, which is why its six games ahead of Philadelphia in the standings. I’m taking Washington -195 to get this long series started with a win.