Phillies vs Nationals Preview and Free Pick – April 26th 2016

Philadelphia (9-10) at Washington (14-4)
When: Tuesday, April 26th 2016
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: CSN Philly, MASN

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That Washington Nationals own the best record in baseball and will host the third-place Philadelphia Phillies to open a three-game series on Tuesday. Washington is coming off a sweep of the Minnesota Twins over the weekend including a dramatic win Sunday. Bryce Harper, who leads the majors in homers (9) and RBI (23), hit a game-tying 9th inning homerun and Chris Heisey hit a walk-off HR in the 16th inning for the victory. The Phillies, who were picked to be the worst team in the league this season, have been hanging around thanks to good starting pitching. Third baseman Maikel Franco is the lone bright spot in otherwise terrible lineup. Franco hit three homeruns over the weekend in Milwaukee and is hitting .296 on the season with five homeruns. Ryan Howard is hitting .183 this season and is 1-for-16 with 10 K’s lifetime against Max Scherzer.


Pitchers: Phillies – Vince Velasquez (2-1, 0.93 ERA) | Nationals – Max Scherzer (2-1, 4.32)

Scherzer is looking to rebound from an uncharacteristically poor outing, when he gave up five runs in five innings in a loss at Miami. His prior start was a seven-inning gem in an 8-1 triumph against Philadelphia. Scherzer is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the Phillies.

23-year-old Vince Velasquez will start for Philadelphia and is a guy that can be an ace for the Phillies for years to come. He’s coming off his worst start since joining Philadelphia, although he set the bar extremely high in his first two outings where he surrendered zero earned runs in 15 innings. He gave up five runs – two earned – in 4.1 innings against the New York Mets in his last start – an 11-1 defeat. For the season, Velasquez has 29 strikeouts and three walks and is holding opponents to a .157 batting average.

Velasquez is good enough to keep the Phillies in it and Scherzer can be hit on the right night. I’m not confident to take the Phillies to win tonight, but I think they keep it close, so I’ll take the runline.

Pick: Phillies +1.5 -130