Phils’ Pivetta faces former organization, Washington

WASHINGTON — The Philadelphia Phillies play better when they face the Washington Nationals.

That is especially true when the Phillies are at home and on Sunday afternoons. Philadelphia posted walk-off wins over Washington at Citizens Bank Park on April 9 and again last Sunday.

The Phillies are 3-4 overall this season against first-place Washington, 10-15 against all other teams.

The fourth series of 2017 between the teams will begin in the nation’s capital on Friday, as Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (0-2, 5.40 ERA) will face Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark (3-1, 3.46 ERA).

Roark is 5-5 with a 3.21 ERA in 14 games, 12 starts, in his career against the Phillies.

Pivetta gave up three homers to the Nationals on May 5 in a loss at home in his second start at the major league level. It was his first start against Washington.

“That’s not really acceptable,” he said after the game. “It is my second start, I’ll give myself a little bit of a break right now. But what I did today doesn’t really show who I am as a pitcher.”

Pivetta hasn’t pitched into the sixth inning in either of his outings.

“Pivetta had good stuff coming out of his hand,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said after the May 5 game. “He just had poor location, had trouble locating his fastball inside to hitters and suffered with the long ball.”

In Pivetta’s other major league appearance, he limited the Dodgers to two runs in five innings but took a 5-3 loss on April 30.

Pivetta was drafted by the Nationals in the fourth round in 2013 out of New Mexico Junior College.

He was traded by Washington to Philadelphia at the trade deadline in 2015 for veteran closer Jonathan Papelbon, who had a run-in later that year with Bryce Harper in the dugout. Papelbon was let go by Washington in 2016 and has not played in the majors since.

The Phillies were off Thursday, but they made news by extending the contract of Mackanin, who began his pro career when he was drafted by the Washington Senators in 1969 out of a Chicago high school.

The deal will carry through the 2018 season with a club option for the 2019 season. Mackanin, an infielder in the majors, had been in the final season of a previous deal, which had a club option for 2018. Mackanin is 121-160 with the Phillies.

His tasks Friday will include devising a game plan for his hitters when they face Roark, who pitched for the United States in the World Baseball Classic during spring training.

Roark said the WBC helped him get an early start in preparation for this season.

“Actually, I feel better than last year. Hopefully it keeps going,” said Roark, who won 16 games in 2016.

The struggling Washington bullpen could get a boost with the upcoming addition of right-handers Shawn Kelley (lower back strain) and Koda Glover (left hip impingement). Kelley is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday, while Glover was in the clubhouse Thursday after throwing a scoreless inning for Double-A Harrisburg on Wednesday in a rehab outing.

“He could be activated this weekend,” Washington manager Dusty Baker said of Glover.