Phillies: Aaron Nola to face Max Scherzer, Nats on July 18

Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola #27 of the Philadelphia Phillies (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

Phillies ace Aaron Nola will face Max Scherzer and the Nationals on Saturday

Starting pitchers are set for the Philadelphia Phillies’ first exhibition game since Grapefruit League action against the Tampa Bay Rays, mid-March in Florida.

In manager Joe Girardi‘s squad’s first of three summer camp exhibition games, Saturday, July 18, away against the Washington Nationals, aces Aaron Nola and Max Scherzer will square off. The first pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.; it is the only exhibition game of the three that will not be on television nor radio.

Nola, 27, and Scherzer, 35, are gearing up for their third straight Opening Day starts. Scherzer also  got the nod for the Nationals in 2015 and 2016.

Nola had only been at camp in South Philadelphia for less than 10 days when Girardi tabbed the right-hander as the exhibition opener starter following Wednesday evening’s intrasquad scrimmage. Nola was absent due to COVID-19 protocols, although he never tested positive for the virus.

The skipper said he was “very pleased” with how Nola’s first summer camp start went on Monday; if all goes well on Saturday, he seems poised to start in the season opener, July 24, home against the Miami Marlins.

Nola himself says he is healthy and expects he will start the first of the 60-game sprint.

Scherzer, a seven-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, and 2019 World Series champion, is gearing up for a highly anticipated July 23 season opener opposite Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees on July 23. He aims to throw six innings in the contest, which would be ahead of schedule as most pitchers so far in summer camp continue to stretch out.

On just the first day of summer camp, Scherzer tossed 32 pitches; after battling an ailment on his right side at the break of spring training, he now appears fully healthy.

After the Phillies’ July 18 exhibition against the Nationals, they will not face their division rival again until Day 33 of 66 of the overall shortened 2020 season.

Phillies 2020 Schedule vs. Nationals

  • Day 33: August 25: at Washington Nationals, 6:05 p.m.
  • Day 34: August 26: at Washington Nationals, 6:05 p.m.
  • Day 35: August 27: at Washington Nationals, 7:15 p.m. (FOX)
  • Day 39: August 31: vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
  • Day 40: September 1: vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
  • Day 41: September 2: vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m.
  • Day 42: September 3: vs. Washington Nationals, 4:05 p.m.
  • Day 60: September 21: at Washington Nationals, 6:05 p.m.
  • Day 61: September 22: at Washington Nationals, 6:05 p.m.
  • Day 62: September 23: at Washington Nationals, 6:05 p.m.

It will be interesting to see how the Phillies fare across the three exhibition games. After Saturday, they will play the Baltimore Orioles at home on July 19, followed by the Yankees in the Bronx on July 20. The latter contests will be televised on NBC Sports Philadelphia, both of which also will get underway at 6:05 p.m.