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Phillies Look to Solve Strasburg, Seek Best 10-Game Start Since 2010

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Looking to secure the National League-best Philadelphia Phillies (7-2) their third series win — out of four overall — right-handed ace Aaron Nola will square off opposite RHP Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals (4-5) in the second of a three-game set Tuesday evening at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies are 6-1 both against their division and at home; a win on Tuesday would give them their best 10-game start to open a season since 2010 (8-2). It would also be just the ninth time in the franchise's 137-year history that the Phillies started at least 8-2, The Athletic's Matt Gelb notes.

With Rhys Hoskins' two solo home runs in the Phillies' 4-3 series opener victory on Monday, the first baseman now has 15 RBI in nine games this season. The only other Phillie with 15-plus RBI over his first nine games of a season — since RBI became an official stat in 1920 — were Dolph Camilli (15, 1935), Mike Schmidt (15, 1976), and Pat Burrell (17, 2005), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Hoskins also leads the Phillies in home runs (5), batting average (.367) and slugging percentage (.933).

Strasburg has never lost at Citizens Bank Park through 10 career start, going 5-0 with a 1.58 ERA. Entering Tuesday, 10 of Nola's last 11 starts, dating back to August 17, 2018, have been against National League East opponents. The right-hander is 5-3 with a 3.21 ERA since, with 85 strikeouts and 22 walks allowed spanning 67 1/3 innings.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

 Washington Nationals (4-5) Philadelphia Phillies (7-2)
RHP Stephen Strasburg RHP Aaron Nola
(1-0, 2.84 ERA) (1-0, 7.00 ERA)

RHP Stephen Strasburg, Age: 30

  • Career vs. PHI: 12-2, 2.44 ERA, 24 G, 24 GS, 154 2/3 IP, 110 H, 49 R, 42 ER, 13 HR, 30 BB, 188 SO, 0.905 WHIP
  • Career at Citizens Bank Park: 5-0, 1.58 ERA, 10 G, 10 GS, 62 2/3 IP, 42 H, 15 R, 11 ER, 3 HR, 17 BB, 80 SO, 0.941 WHIP

Strasburg went 2-0 at Citizens Bank Park in two starts last season, allowing just three runs spanning 13 innings and 10 hits, three walks and 14 strikeouts. The 10-year veteran has allowed a Nationals franchise record eight hits or fewer in 53 straight starts since Sept. 7, 2016 — tied for the third-longest active streak in MLB.


RHP Aaron Nola, Age: 25

  • Career vs. WSH: 4-5, 4.07 ERA, 16 G, 16 GS, 90 2/3 IP, 90 H, 43 R, 41 ER, 12 HR, 24 BB, 102 SO, 1.257 WHIP
  • Career at Citizens Bank Park: 25-14, 3.05 ERA, 47 G, 47 GS, 298 IP, 245 H, 108 R, 101 ER, 37 HR, 81 BB, 347 SO, 1.094 WHIP

Nola has not been his usual self so far in 2019, allowing a career-high five walks on Opening Day, and six runs in his most recent outing, Wednesday against the Nationals. Then, the right-hander surrendered a double and three-run home run to left fielder Juan Soto, home runs to third baseman Anthony Rendon (solo) and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman (two-run), as well as a single to right fielder Adam Eaton. Nola struck out just two batters — second baseman Brian Dozier and starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez — and walked Rendon and Zimmerman once.

Nola's two strikeouts were his least in a start since August 5, 2018, home against the Miami Marlins (no-decision) — also two strikeouts. He had thrown 11 straight starts with at least five strikeouts.

Starting Lineups:

Washington Nationals (4-5) Philadelphia Phillies (7-2)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 RF Adam Eaton L 1 LF Andrew McCutchen R
2 2B Brian Dozier R 2 SS Jean Segura R
3 3B Anthony Rendon R 3 RF Bryce Harper L
4 LF Juan Soto L 4 1B Rhys Hoskins R
5 1B Ryan Zimmerman R 5 C J.T. Realmuto R
6 C Yan Gomes R 6 CF Odubel Herrera L
7 SS Wilmer Difo S 7 2B Cesar Hernandez S
8 P Stephen Strasburg R 8 3B Maikel Franco R
9 CF Victor Robles R 9 P Aaron Nola R

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
  • TV: NBCSP+
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:


  • The Phillies have the best record in the National League, and are tied with the Seattle Mariners for the fewest losses (2). The Phillies' +21 run differential is third-best in MLB, trailing only the Mariners (+37) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+35).
  • Hoskins has homered in three straight games (four total); his sixth inning, go-ahead home run on Monday was his 25th career go-ahead blast out of then-56 overall. Since the start of last season, Hoskins has 25 home runs that either tied the game or gave the Phillies the lead.
  • In his last 22 starts at Citizens Bank Park, Nola is 14-3 with a 2.24 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 173 strikeouts in 144 1/3 innings, holding opponents to a .205/.269/.314 slash line, according to the Phillies.
  • Phillies pitchers have not allowed a walk in two straight games for the first time since July 20-22, 2016, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Corey Seidman notes.
  • Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco has two career home runs against Strasburg in 27 plate appearances. Hoskins, meanwhile, has just one single, one walk and six strikeouts spanning 11 career plate appearances opposite the right-hander (click to expand)


What's Next:

  • Wednesday, April 10, 2019: vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
    • Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pa.
    • RHP Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. RHP Nick Pivetta (1-0, 6.52 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP+; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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