MLB: Phillies look to continue dominance of struggling Nats
The surging Philadelphia Phillies look for their fifth straight win when they host the Washington Nationals on Sunday in the finale of a four-game series.
Philadelphia, in the thick of the National League Wild Card race, has won nine of its last 10 and looks to complete a sweep of the struggling Nationals. The Phillies are 11 games over .500 for the first time since May 29, 2019.
First baseman Rhys Hoskins will look to extend an impressive streak of his own. He has homered in the first inning of the past three games, becoming the first Phillie since at least 1900 to do so.
Hoskins’ solo shot kick-started a six-run Philadelphia first on Saturday.
“It’s great to jump out and get the lead,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “We stung the ball all night long. Right through the lineup.”
Philadelphia improved to 9-2 against Washington this season and the teams have eight games remaining.
Right-hander Aaron Nola (7-8, 3.25 ERA) will make his 22nd start of the season for the Phillies. He has pitched six or more innings in his last 12 starts. Last time out, he gave up a run on six hits over six innings in a win against the Pirates.
Nola is 6-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 26 career starts against Washington, including 0-1 with a 1.72 ERA in two games this season.
Washington right-hander Cory Abbot (0-0, 1.00) will make his third career start.
His second career start was special. Starting in place of the injured Erick Fedde, the 26-year-old matched zeros with Mets ace Jacob deGrom and the Nationals eventually got to the New York bullpen for a 5-1 win.
Abbot pitched five scoreless innings and surrendered just two hits.
“Just be ready,” Abbott said afterward. “You have the opportunity, just walk through the door. That’s how I approach it.”
J.T. Realmuto homered and tripled in his second consecutive game, and Matt Vierling also homered as the Phillies jumped out to a 9-0 lead and held on.
“We’re swinging it good right now,” said Vierling, who hit a three-run, first-inning homer off Patrick Corbin. “Just roll with the hot streak.”
Corbin didn’t make it out of the first inning for the second time in three starts, and the last-place Nationals dropped their fourth straight game.
“We got to keep going. And I got to remind myself, when we started this, what we’re heading for and what we’re building for, and that’s for the future,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We’re going to have some good players come up here relatively soon, and we just got to keep battling, keep going every day.”
Luke Voit, acquired in the trade that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres, had two hits including his first homer as a National.
“He’s having really good at-bats,” Martinez said of Voit. “Like I said, when we got him, I knew that he can hit. He’s fit nicely in our lineup and he’s proving that now.”
Nationals designated hitter Nelson Cruz returned after missing three games in a row with a stiff neck and went 1-for-3 with two walks.
–Field Level Media