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Phillies Aim to Capture 40th Win, Avoid Sweep Behind Pivetta

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

Having lost 12 of their last 18 games — including three in a row — the Philadelphia Phillies (39-34) will look to reverse their recent fortunes in Thursday evening's series finale opposite the Washington Nationals (35-38) at Nationals Park. Bryce Harper will make just his 29th career start batting first in the lineup. Since Andrew McCutchen's injury, Phillies leadoff hitters have batted .115/.220/.154 in 59 plate appearances, according to The Athletic.

Phillies RHP Nick Pivetta will make his eighth career start against the Nationals, the team that drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 amateur draft and traded him two years later to the Phillies for closer Jonathan Papelbon. Pivetta will oppose fellow 26-year-old right-hander Erick Fedde, who has allowed nine runs, 16 hits, three home runs and seven walks spanning five appearances and 19 2/3 innings at Nationals Park this season.

Following back-to-back postponements on Monday and Tuesday, the Phillies began the series on Wednesday by dropping both games of the split doubleheader. Nationals RHP Max Scherzer was the star of Game 2; despite a broken nose, he struck out 10 Phillies batters over seven shutout innings.

Prior to Thursday's finale, the Phillies placed RHP Pat Neshek on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring strain; there is no timetable for his return. The veteran suffered the injury while pitching in the eighth inning of Wednesday's 2-0 Game 2 loss; it was just his first appearance since May 23 due to a previous shoulder injury. The Phillies' Game 2 "26th man," southpaw Ranger Suarez, will remain on the active roster, at least for now, with LHP Adam Morgan "on track" to be activated before Friday's game, according to Gabe Kapler.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Philadelphia Phillies (39-34) Washington Nationals (35-38)
RHP Nick Pivetta RHP Erick Fedde
(4-1, 5.00 ERA) (1-1, 3.68 ERA)

RHP Nick Pivetta, Age: 26

  • Career vs. WSN: 1-5, 10.94 ERA, 8 G, 7 GS, 26 1/3 IP, 44 H, 32 R, 32 ER, 11 HR, 18 BB, 29 SO, 2.354 WHIP
  • Career at Nationals Park: 0-1, 10.13 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 10 2/3 IP, 18 H, 12 R, 12 ER, 4 HR, 9 BB, 13 SO, 2.531 WHIP


RHP Erick Fedde, Age: 26

  • Career vs. PHI: 2-1, 4.32 ERA, 3 G, 3 GS, 16 2/3 IP, 18 H, 8 R, 8 ER, 2 HR, 7 BB, 15 SO, 1.500 WHIP
  • Career at Nationals Park: 1-5, 5.95 ERA, 13 G, 10 GS, 56 IP, 65 H, 37 R, 37 ER, 7 HR, 22 BB, 41 SO, 1.554 WHIP

Starting Lineups:

Philadelphia Phillies (39-34) Washington Nationals (35-38)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 RF Bryce Harper L 1 SS Trea Turner R
2 1B Rhys Hoskins R 2 RF Adam Eaton L
3 LF Jay Bruce L 3 3B Anthony Rendon R
4 C J.T. Realmuto R 4 LF Juan Soto L
5 SS Jean Segura R 5 2B Howie Kendrick R
6 CF Scott Kingery R 6 1B Matt Adams L
7 2B Cesar Hernandez S 7 C Kurt Suzuki R
8 3B Maikel Franco R 8 CF Victor Robles R
9 P Nick Pivetta R 9 P Erick Fedde R

Broadcast Information:

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

Game Notes:


  • The Phillies are currently tied for the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
  • Active Hitting Streaks of 5-plus games:
    • Phillies
      • Brad Miller (5): 13 AB. 0 R, 6 H, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 BB, 3 SO, .462/.462/.692
    • Nationals
      • Juan Soto (5): 16 AB, 6 R, 7 H, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 3 SO, .438/.550/.625
  • With the recent inclement weather, a four-game, four-day series turned into a three-game, two-day series opposite Harper's former team from 2012 to 2018. The Phillies' 26-game stretch against solely division opponents was also lessened by one game. The makeup game will be part of another split doubleheader on Tuesday, September 24 — during the Phillies' last road series of the season.
  • The Phillies are 4-27 this season when scoring four runs or fewer — ranking 21st in MLB according to winning percentage, notes The Athletic's Matt Gelb. The Cubs rank first (9-18).
  • At the same point last season, through 73 games, the 2019 Phillies have one less win.
  • Scott Kingery (.339) and J.T. Realmuto (.309) have the top two batting averages among Phillies batters this month, minimum 10 plate appearances.


  • The Phillies have been outscored 8-2 this series, despite having just two less hits.


  • Kingery is 3-for-6 in his career against Fedde with a double, solo home run and strikeout. Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, meanwhile, is 8-for-15 in his career against Pivetta with two doubles, three home runs, nine RBI, one walk and no strikeouts (click to expand).


What's Next:

  • Friday, June 21, 2019: vs. Miami Marlins, 7:05 p.m.
    • Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pa.
    • RHP Sandy Alcantara (3-6, 3.73 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.89 ERA)
    • TV: NBCSP; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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