Phillies Hanging on in Wild Card Race
The Philadelphia Phillies try to win a second straight contest when they host the Washington Nationals in the first of a four-game weekend series on Thursday night. Philadelphia split a two-game series with the Atlanta Braves and is in third place in the National League East and a half-game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final NL Wild Card spot.
Washington has lost three of four and is in last place in the division standings. These division rivals are very familiar with each other, so make sure you read our in-depth preview to help you with your bet online.
Nationals Move Ahead Without Soto
For the second straight game since their big deal sending stars Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres, the Washington Nationals scored five runs. Unfortunately, on Wednesday, all those runs came in the ninth inning after the team was already trailing 9-0.
Catcher Keibert Ruiz got the late rally started with a solo home run. The 24-year-old is batting .248 with 18 doubles, four home runs, 24 RBIs and 24 runs scored.
Third baseman Ildemaro Vargas was 4-for-4 in Wednesday’s loss, scoring a run in the ninth. Vargas is batting .259 with a triple, a home run, four RBIs and five runs scored in 11 games, with Wednesday being his first with the Nationals.
Right-hander Paolo Espino will get the start for the series opener. The 35-year-old is 0-3 with a 3.78 ERA in nine starts and 29 appearances, Espino is coming off a no-decision against the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday in which he went 4.2 innings and allowed four runs on seven hits, including two home runs, while striking out two and walking one.
Phillies Feel Like Best is Yet to Come
The Philadelphia Phillies are in the playoff hunt despite having some major injuries rob them of key players. But that could end soon as Jean Segura is expected to play for the first time in May in the series opener on Thursday. Bryce Harper is expected to be back in the lineup by the end of the month.
“We still haven’t clicked on all cylinders yet, and we’re in contention,” Phillies outfielder Nick Castellanos said after Wednesday’s win over the Atlanta Braves. “We’re a playoff team.”
Castellanos hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning to power the Phillies. Castellanos is batting .258 in his first season with Philadelphia, hitting 22 doubles and nine home runs, driving in 51 runs and scoring 42 times.
Catcher J.T. Realmuto was 0-for-4, but his fielder’s choice grounder drove in the first run of the inning for the Phillies, setting up Castellano’s go-ahead home run. Realmuto is batting .259 with 15 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBIs and 47 runs scored.
Philadelphia was busy at the trade deadline, and one of the new acquisitions, right-hander Noah Syndergaard, will make his first start with the team on Thursday. Syndergaard was 5-8 with a 3.83 ERA in 15 starts with the Los Angeles Angels this season. He’s coming off a tough loss in his last outing on July 25, allowing just one run over 5.2 innings while striking out six and walking two, but taking the loss against the Kansas City Royals thanks to no run support.
Nationals vs Phillies Head-To-Head
The Philadelphia Phillies have had the upper hand in their season series against the Washington Nationals of late, going 26-11 against their division rival since the start of the 2020 campaign. This season has seen the Phillies take six of the first eight matchups, including a 2-1 record at home.
Washington did win more than it lost at Citizens Bank Park in 2021, going 5-4 in Philly. The MLB lines don’t see that kind of success happening again in the series opener, with the Phillies a heavy favorite to come away with a win.
Nationals vs Phillies Game Information
- Game: Nationals (36-70) vs Phillies (56-48)
- Location: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
- Day/Time: Thursday August, 4, 7:05 p.m. ET
- Nationals vs Phillies Live Stream: MLB.tv
Nationals vs Phillies Betting Odds
P. Espino -R
|+1½ Ev||+185||9 Evo||3½ Evo
N. Syndergaard -R
|-1½ -120||-215||9 -120u||5½ +110o
Nationals vs Phillies Prediction
The Philadelphia Phillies used the trade deadline to gear up for a playoff run while the Washington Nationals used it to start building for the future. That difference in fortunes will show in the series opener, as the Phillies should cruise to a victory
When making your MLB picks, take Philadelphia to get the win at home.