Sep 17, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Nationals right fielder Harper (34) against Miami at Nationals Park. (Photo Credit:Brad Mills
-USA TODAY Sports)
PHILLIES-NATS SERIES KEYS
Score Runs – if you’ve been watching or following from afar, you know that this simple statement is not at all too simplistic with this group of Fightin’ Phils hitters. The team has scored just 14 runs across the last 8 games, and that includes a 6-run outburst in the Miami opener early this week. If the Phillies are going to have any hope of winning even a single game in this series they have to find a way to score. With Zimmermann pitching for a contract, and as ridiculously unhittable as Strasburg has been over the last month or so, that will be tough. Eickhoff and Nola, taking on those two Nationals’ aces are absolutely deserving of some strong support.
Match the Nats Starters – those two rookie starting pitchers, Eickhoff and Nola, are being put up against the veterans Zimmermann and Strasburg. Both young Phils’ righties have been outstanding in the majority of their appearances, and are winding down their freshman MLB campaigns. Facing a powerful Nationals lineup this weekend, having each deliver another strong performance could add an exclamation point to a strong season. Harang is also coming off a strong start, so having him deliver would be nice for the team, but also would help make him look more attractive to any suitors, should he choose to return with some team in the 2016 season.
Turn Papelbon into “Papelblown” – the Phillies franchise all-time Saves leader was easily the one traded veteran whom the fan base was happy to see go. Except for possibly his first season in 2012, Papelbon never connected with the fans, and that relationship turned downright antagonistic following the “crotch grab” incident at the end of the 2014 season. The Nats won their first two games following the trade at the end of July. But since then have gone 24-38 since that time. Fans would love nothing more than to see the Nationals eliminated on a blown Save by Papelbon.
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