The Team: Washington Nationals
The Phillies must be thrilled to get the Mets out of their faces for even three nights. The problem is they are heading to Washington to oppose a team that they just beat two out of three. More importantly, it is a team who is seeking some sort of revenge. And the Nationals are looking to do so against a Philadelphia squad perhaps still licking its wounds from a New York beatdown.
When we last saw the Washington Nationals, they were just a bunch of blips on our radar of excitement. The gray uniforms were trudging off the Citizen’s Bank Park grass as the Phillies tackled their second baseman following his series clinching walk-off single.
Now, they are a team coming off a series win at home against a perennial National League contending, St. Louis Cardinals team. The Nationals were able to pound across 23 runs in the three games (22 of them in the first two games, resulting in wins). Now, they prepare to open the doors of Nationals Park to the Phils, and try to take back the sense of dominance they owned over Philadelphia.
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They will have to go through Aaron Nola, who had success against them last Saturday night in the 17-6 drubbing. He will be followed by Jeremy Hellickson, who was cruising on Sunday before being lifted for cramping in his forearm. And finally, Eickhoff, who has yet to face the Nats in 2017, but has had two exceptional starts in his first couple of turns.
As the Nationals (5-4) look to right the ship the second time around, the Phillies (3-6) are simply looking to get back on track.