The Washington Nationals are going in the wrong direction here and that could make for a very interesting three days. Washington has hit the skids at the wrong time, losing five in a row and seven of 10 to fall to eight games back in the NL East. They look like a seller now, which could mean trades of guys like Kyle Schwarber and Max Scherzer.
The Philadelphia Phillies are still in striking distance after yesterday’s win and sit four back of the Mets with a .500 record. The Mets do have two games in hand, but the Phillies seem to have a chance. Maybe they’ll be a buyer and pick up some guys to fix the bullpen and maybe even add starting rotation depth.
Starting rotation depth seems like a good idea because relying on Matt Moore ain’t it. Moore goes into this start with a 5.79 ERA and a 5.68 FIP in his 42 innings of work this season. While he has a 4.56 ERA and a 4.39 FIP for his career, Moore was a really effective pitcher for a couple of years with the Rays in 2012-13 and those numbers kind of skew his career marks. He had a solid year in 2016, but since then, has been really, really bad.
Since the start of 2017, Moore has a 5.78 ERA with a 4.93 FIP in 328.1 innings of work. He’s coming off of a six-run effort against Atlanta over six innings in his second start after the Break. He had been pitching pretty well prior to that, but with a high walk rate and subpar command, it was really difficult to see those fortunes continuing for the southpaw.
The Nationals are the best offense in baseball since June 21, which is the day the foreign substance died. We started singing bye, bye to the Spider Tack guys and everything seemed to change. Washington has a .353 wOBA in that span. For the season, Washington ranks ninth in wOBA and the better platoon split has come against lefties with a league-leading .343 wOBA. The Nationals are also second in batting average.
They’ve certainly been very effective against left-handed pitchers and I would expect that to continue against a subpar starter like Matt Moore.
It has been a long time since I’ve picked on old friend Erick Fedde. The 28-year-old right-hander had an out-of-body experience for a little while earlier this season and actually pitched really well. He now has a 4.88 ERA with a 4.46 FIP in his 72 innings of work. He pitched well last time out against Miami, but had allowed 20 runs in 14.2 innings over his previous four starts.
Fedde is just generally not a very good pitcher with a low strikeout rate, a high walk rate, and poor command. You know, three things that you don’t want to have. He’s actually probably lucky to have a 5.04 ERA and a 5.24 FIP over his 266 career innings of work.
Along with two poor starters, we also have two bad bullpens. The Nationals had a big blown save last night from Brad Hand and had to try to use five relievers to finish off the game. Washington’s bullpen is in the bottom 10 in ERA and has some company from Philadelphia, whose team ERA is the ninth-highest among relievers.
This total is up to 10.5, but it will be a warm night in Philadelphia, so the ball should travel well. Both pitchers are gas cans and both bullpens are below average. I know it’s a big number, but I’ll be good with taking the over here.