The Washington Nationals enter a weekend series in Philadelphia with a 13-17 record. They are four games behind the Phillies, who are 17-13 for the season. Sunday’s game features scheduled starters Anibal Sanchez for the Nationals versus Zach Eflin for the Phillies.
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The Nationals are hitting .249 as a team with 43 home runs and 146 runs score. Anthony Rendon has been the top overall hitter, batting .356 with six home runs and 18 RBI. Juan Soto is tied with Rendon in home runs and leads in RBI with 22. Victor Robles has added five home runs to the attack, while veteran Howie Kendrick is hitting .356 with four home runs in a more limited role.
For the Phillies, the power production is led by Rhys Hoskins, who has belted nine home runs and 25 RBI. Maikel Franco has been the most dangerous eight-hole hitter in the league, with seven home runs and 25 RBI. Bryce Harper has struggled over the past few weeks, but still has six home runs and 20 RBI. Jean Segura leads the team in hitting at .338 and leadoff man Andrew McCutchen has five home runs and 14 RBI. As a team, the Phillies are hitting .249 with 39 home runs and 153 runs scored.
Anibal Sanchez had a rough first month of the season, going 0-4 with a 5.91 ERA. He gave up 37 hits and four home runs in 32 innings. Sean Doolittle and Kyle Barraclough have done well out of the bull pen, allowing only four earned runs in 26 1/3 innings. However, Matt Grace, Tony Sipp, Wander Suero and Joe Ross have combined for an ERA of 6.10 for a team that has an ERA of 4.81, below the league average.
Zach Eflin is off to a 3-3 start this season with a 3.34 ERA. He had an excellent 26-to-5 strikeout to walk ratio and has a complete game under his belt. The Phillies have had some issues out of the bull pen, but the trio of Hector Neris, Adam Morgan and Pat Neshek have done the job. Neris has four saves, 20 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings and an ERA of 2.63. Morgan has yet to allow a run in 11 2/3 hits and allowed only six base runners. Neshek has an ERA of 3.00 over 12 innings. The team has a solid ERA of 4.15.
The offenses are nearly identical in terms of run production, at around five per game. With the league average of about nine runs scored per team game, expect a game around that or a little higher between these two. The match up favors the Phillies since they are at home and Eflin has been much better than Sanchez at this point. Best bet is to go with the Phillies to win and maintain their lead in the division.