July 4th came and went without Phillies baseball. Like a hotdog without mustard, it was just fine.
An odd feeling, but perhaps everyone needed the day off. After all, what is a holiday, if not a reprieve, from your good old nine to five?
‘They just use your mind, and they never give you credit.’
Dolly Parton lol
Everybody – take a deep breath.
Another successful series just came to a close with a 2-1 advantage over the St. Louis Cardinals – a series that’s markedly more important given the current state of the National League Wildcard race.
Phillies are 1.5 games out of the Wildcard after a needed series win over the Cardinals.
Next up, a three games series in South Philly with the Nationals who could be without Juan Soto. pic.twitter.com/thVuZuBUlj
— Danny Pommells (@DPommellsNBCS) July 4, 2022
Not only a solid series but an excellent rebound from a disappointing duel with Atlanta.
“If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”
– Obi Wan Kenobi to an Atlanta Braves clubhouse spokesperson
With injuries mounting, at least the Phillies get three games against the 29-53 Washington Nationals, fresh off being swept by the Miami Marlins. Let’s ride.
The State of the Outfield
Kyle Schwarber, on the heel of his NL Player of the Month announcement, has been one of the hottest hitters in the National League. And although Schwarbs has kicked off July with a 2-for-13 stretch, he ain’t the problem.
The Phillies need to worry about the rest of their outfield output, beginning with Nick Castellanos.
With the Phillies on the hook for a five-year, $100MM deal, Castellanos’ output in 2022 has netted him a -0.9 WAR and an OPS currently 16% lower than his career average.
Look at the Phillies outfield numbers over the last seven days. Without Matt Vierling (who now basically plays all over the diamond) and his six walks in fourteen plate appearances, not a great week whatsoever.
Phillies outfield numbers over the last seven days.
If the Castellanos, Mickey Moniak, and Odúbel Herrera triumvirate are looking to heat up, three games against the Washington Nationals is a great place to start. Bryce Harper’s not coming to save the say anytime soon.
Phillies Injury report ain’t too short
Filling out the Philadelphia Phillies’ starting rotation has been hard enough, and now Ranger Suárez and Zach Elfin have hit the IL. This leaves the Phils expecting a lot from Kyle Gibson (9.69 ERA in his last three starts) and Bailey Falter (1.417 WHIP in 2022).
I have more faith in Anakin Skywalkers’ patience.
For now, Cristopher Sánchez will get the immediate call from Triple-A Lehigh for a spot start to kick off the series.
Cristopher Sanchez will start Tuesday for injured Ranger Suarez in Phillies-Nationals series opener.
— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) July 4, 2022
It looks like the Phillies could also be without Didi Gregorious. Another injury to his left knee could result in an eventual trip to the IL, but time will tell for the veteran shortstop.
The Nationals, however, are dealing with the most significant blow. Juan Soto’s status is in question following a calf-related injury. Early MRIs don’t show anything substantial, but he could see rest in Philadelphia this week.
That would hurt for a team that already ranks seventh-worst in runs across the MLB.
The only probable is that we don’t know who will pitch in this series. Alas, we speculate.
Nationals upcoming probable starters vs. Phillies
Tuesday: RHP Espino vs. LHP Sanchez
Wednesday: RHP Gray vs. RHP Nola
Thursday: TBA vs. LHP Falter
— Jessica Camerato (@JessicaCamerato) July 4, 2022
RHP Paolo Espino (0-1, 2.80 ERA) v. LHP Cristopher Sánchez (0-1, 4.60 ERA)
After making his first twenty appearances in relief, Espino has been thrust into a starter role, and it hasn’t gone particularly well. In 18 and 1/3 innings, Espino has an ERA of 3.93 while falling victim to the long ball four times.
This will be the second time Espino starts against the Phillies in 2022, the last time allowing four runs and walking four.
Sánchez has bounced back and forth between Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, and now he will make his second official start in 2022. It will be interesting to see how he does against the current Nationals lineup, of whom he’s amassed just five total at-bats.
He’s going to have to work because, well, you know.
RHP Josiah Gray (6-5, 4.22 ERA) v. RHP Aaron Nola (5-5, 3.13 ERA)
Nola should be out for revenge. The last time he played the Nationals, he went eight innings, allowing just four hits. That game ended in a no-decision for the Cy-Young hopeful, unsurprising if you’ve followed Nola’s career.
Gray’s also been on the business end of a no-decision in an admirable performance against the Phillies. Gray allowed one hit across six innings.
Quite frankly, this is likely the only pitching match-up in this series worth noting.
TBD v. RHP Bailey Falter (0-2, 4.88 ERA)
Sigh. 8.7 out of 10 for hair.
Phillies Game One Daily Fantasy Pick of the Day
I’d stay away from either of these starting pitchers. Too unpredictable at the moment, and neither will likely make it past the fifth inning.
I believe in Castellanos. He’s been from $2,800-$3100 on FanDuel, and I think the immediate pitching chaos for both these teams will benefit the struggling veteran.
Best Bets and Other Betting Information for the Phillies-Nationals
I think this one turns into a shootout.
Without seeing the O/U, I would hammer town the OVER. Game one of this series will feature a lot of runs and plenty of pitchers.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky