Phillies enter series vs. Nationals playing catch-up in division
The Philadelphia Phillies return to Citizens Bank Park for their penultimate homestand of 2018 in desperate need of some wins as they try to stay in the National League East race.
The second-place Phillies will play the three teams behind them in the division during the nine-game homestand, starting Monday night against the Washington Nationals. Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.61 ERA) will get the start against Washington right-hander Erick Fedde (1-3, 6.00) in the opener of the final series between the teams in 2018.
The Phillies have not won a series since sweeping the Marlins in early August. Philadelphia is 11-20 since then and, at 74-68, as close as it has been to .500 since it was 43-37 on June 29. Philadelphia’s latest loss, a 6-4 defeat against the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, pushed it 4 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the division’s top spot.
Despite a month without a series victory, the Phillies still have a chance to catch the Braves, who they play seven times in the final two weeks of the season. The Phillies are 43-26 at home but just 28-32 against the rest of the NL East this season. They have an 8-8 mark against the Nationals.
“We need to turn the page quickly,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after Sunday’s loss in New York. “Looking forward to getting back to Philadelphia where we’ve played really good baseball all year long. We will come out (Monday) having turned the page. We’re prepared to do that.”
The Nationals (71-72) enter the series with a two-game winning streak, beating the Chicago Cubs twice before their Sunday game was rained out. There are eight games separating the Nationals and the Braves.
Fedde will make his eighth start of the season and his second since rejoining the Nationals after a shoulder injury sidelined him for two months. He gave up four runs (all in the second inning) and four hits and had seven strikeouts in five innings against the St. Louis Cardinals last Tuesday.
“I think just that second inning got away from me a little bit,” Fedde told MLB.com after the game. “I started getting a little slider happy with some of the guys that came up, and I think I just let it take over.”
Fedde, 25, is 1-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two career starts against the Phillies.
Rhys Hoskins will try to keep his home run streak going against Fedde and the Nationals. Hoskins homered for the third consecutive game in Sunday’s loss. The Phillies’ 25-year-old slugger has 30 homers this season, and he has homered in three straight games on three separate occasions in 2018.
Arrieta was strong in his last outing, notching 11 strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings against the Miami Marlins. The veteran right-hander has allowed two homers in each of his last three starts, including in a three-inning performance against the Nationals on Aug. 29.
Arrieta is 1-2 with a 5.25 ERA and a 1.567 WHIP in 12 career starts against Washington.