Indianapolis Star
Major League Baseball
Preview
Philadelphia at Washington
When: 8:05 PM ET, Sunday, June 24, 2018
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia

The Washington Nationals continue to slump at the plate and are sliding down the standings as a result. The Nationals will try to break out of the funk and avoid a sweep when they host the Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday.

Washington dropped nine of its last 12 games and is averaging three runs in that span, including losing the first two games of the current series by a combined 17-5. The heart of the Nationals order is not producing up to par, and star right fielder Bryce Harper is batting .149 with one home run, five RBIs and 24 strikeouts in 19 games this month. The Phillies surged in front of Washington in the National League East standings with victories the last two days and won nine of the last 12 overall to put pressure on the Atlanta Braves atop the NL East. Philadelphia will try to polish off the sweep behind right-hander Nick Pivetta while the Nationals give righty Jefry Rodriguez his second major league start.

TV: 8:05 p.m. ET, ESPN

PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jefry Rodriguez (0-0, 4.66)

Pivetta is winless in his last five turns but dominated last time out against St. Louis. The Canada native struck out a career-high 13 over 7 1/3 innings but yielded two runs on four hits and a walk while being held out of the decision. Pivetta was not nearly as sharp at Washington on May 4, when he was ripped for six runs on five hits and three walks in one-plus innings and surrendered a pair of home runs to Harper.

Rodriguez tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings of relief in his first career appearance on June 3 at Atlanta but did not have as much success in his first start. The Dominican Republic native was reached for five runs on four hits and three walks over five innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Rodriguez went 5-3 with a 3.31 ERA in 13 starts for Double-A Harrisburg before being recalled.

WALK-OFFS

1. Nationals RHP Brandon Kintzler (forearm) will make a rehab appearance at Class-A Potomac on Sunday.

2. Phillies RHP Pat Neshek (shoulder, forearm) made his first rehab appearance on Saturday with Class A Advanced Clearwater and struck out a pair in a scoreless inning.

3. Philadelphia 3B Maikel Franco went 4-for-4 on Saturday, matching his hit total from his previous 11 games.

PREDICTION: Phillies 6, Nationals 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Philadelphia 41-33 W3 24-13 17-20 12-15 15-8 9-8 5-2
Washington 40-35 L2 18-20 22-15 11-13 7-0 13-16 9-6
Last Meeting
Philadelphia Washington
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
6/23/18 PHI 5 WAS 3 .303 1 .823 .188 1 .570
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Philadelphia M. Franco .600 9 1.758
Washington W. Difo .353 6 1.047
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Philadelphia C. Santana 3 6 7
Washington M. Adams 2 3 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Philadelphia 3.77 .273 35
Washington 5.40 .209 58
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Philadelphia O. Herrera .304 85 .857
Washington A. Rendon .286 60 .848
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Philadelphia C. Santana 13 44 46
Washington B. Harper 19 42 45
Pitching ERA Avg K
Philadelphia 3.90 .237 676
Washington 3.54 .238 710