Phillies vs Nationals: Series Preview

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Sep 13, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;

Phillies first baseman Howard (6) rips a home run this past weekend against the Chicago Cubs at Citizens Bank Park.

(Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)


Keep the Offense Rolling – the Nationals starting pitchers are talented, there is no doubt about that. If Zimmermann, Strasburg, and Gonzalez all come with their ‘A’ games, the Phillies will have a tough time avoiding a sweep. However, the Phils have scored 7 runs in back-to-back games coming in to the series. If they have gained any confidence from that, they need to keep it rolling. Work the pitcher, get your pitch, hit it when you do. Easy to say, harder to do, but it’s what is necessary. Ryan Howard likely starts the first two games, and his veteran leadership and power would be huge in this spot. He homered yesterday, has an extra-base hit in each of the last three, and a little turn-back-the-clock hot series would be a beautiful thing for fans to watch.

Make Strasburg and Gio Pitch – if the double-digit, fireballing Stras shows up, it just might be lights-out with nothing to do but be amazed. However, once in a while he struggles. If the Phillies see him missing his mark early, they would be smart to work him deep in counts as often as possible. That might lead to mistake pitches. It also might simply drive him from the game earlier. Gonzalez is prone to walk problems, and the Phillies need to go into that finale with the mindset of taking pitches.

Keep the Nats Bats in the Yard – we all know that Citizens Bank Park can be friendly to hitters. The Phillies pitchers cannot allow Harper, Werth, Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon, Ian Desmond and the Nats batters to use their park as a shooting gallery this week. Keep the ball down, spot your fastball, don’t give in. Nola in particular is a must, he is by far the best starter taking a turn for the Phils the next three days.