The Phillies would probably like to wash away the taste of Sunday’s 15-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves by winning a game against Washington at Nationals Park. Instead, they sat through nearly five hours of combined rain delays Monday and Tuesday without playing a game. The teams will try to take the field again Wednesday and play a split doubleheader that was scheduled after Monday’s postponement. Game 1 will begin at 1:05 p.m., with the second game starting at 7:05.
Jake Arrieta, who had been scheduled to pitch Monday and Tuesday, will take the ball in the second game for the Phillies after Zach Eflin pitches the opener against Washington’s Patrick Corbin. Max Scherzer was scheduled to pitch the second game Wednesday, but he bunted a ball off his face Tuesday afternoon in the batting cage and fractured his nose. The Nationals do not know when Scherzer will pitch again, and they do not even know who will pitch Game 2 on Wednesday. Yes, we know and they know it’s Wednesday.
Because of Tuesday’s postponement, the teams will play another split doubleheader Sept. 24 in Washington. That means the Phillies’ final road series of the season will be five games, and it also means that 11 of the team’s final 14 games will be on the road. The Phillies are 16-18 on the road this season.
The second-place Phillies did at least gain a half-game on first-place Atlanta on Tuesday night, thanks to the New York Mets’ 10-2 victory over the Braves at SunTrust Park.
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You never wish harm on anyone, but it’s fair to assess the situation after the fact. It’s entirely possible now that the Phillies will not have to face Max Scherzer on Wednesday or Thursday after the Nationals ace suffered a fractured nose when he bunted a ball off his face in the batting cage Tuesday afternoon.
No pun intended, but it would be a huge break for the Phillies because Scherzer has dominated them, as he has done against most teams since signing with the Nationals as a free agent before the 2015 season.
Scherzer, then with the Arizona Diamondbacks, made his first career start against the Phillies in 2008 and was knocked out after four innings, having allowed five runs on eight hits. In 17 career starts against the Phillies since, he is 9-2 with a 2.30 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 113 2/3 innings. In his 16 career starts against the Phillies since he joined the Nationals, Scherzer is 8-2 with a 2.42 ERA, and Washington has won 13 of the 16 games.
The Phillies did beat him earlier this season in Washington even though Scherzer allowed only a single earned run and struck out nine in five innings. Most of the Phillies’ offensive damage came later in the game against the Nationals bullpen.
After a slow start, Scherzer has recaptured his three-time Cy Young Award form, going 4-2 with a 2.01 ERA in his last 10 starts.
So as unfortunate as Scherzer’s injury was, the Phillies could benefit from missing him during this rain-shortened series.
The Phillies’ rail-thin starting rotation was already being tested before Monday night’s postponement, which will force manager Gabe Kapler to come up with six different starters in a five-day period. As of Tuesday night, Kapler was still uncertain whom he would pitch against the Miami Marlins on Friday when the team opens a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.
Marc Narducci caught up with some of the Phillies’ youngest prospects playing rookie ball for Williamsport. For the fifth straight year, they are being managed by former big-league catcher Pat Borders, MVP of the 1992 World Series.
Today: Zach Eflin faces Patrick Corbin at 1:05 p.m.; Jake Arrieta pitches for Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Aaron Nola vs. Stephen Strasburg, 7:05 p.m.
Friday: Start of a homestand vs. Miami, 7:05 p.m.
Monday: Start of a four-game series vs. N.Y. Mets, 7:05 p.m.
On this date in 1927, Jack Scott not only started both games of a doubleheader against the Reds in Cincinnati, but he also completed both of them. Scott allowed one run on six hits to win the opening game, 3-1. He lost the second game, 3-0, allowing three runs (two earned) on nine hits over eight innings. Scott walked one batter and struck out one over 17 innings. He is the last pitcher in big-league history to start and complete two games in a single day.
Scott played 12 years in the big leagues, but only 1927 with the Phillies. At age 35, he went 9-21 with a career-high 5.09 ERA that season. After he completed the two games in the same day, we think manager Stuffy McInnis said he would not be available to pitch the following day.
Send questions by email or on Twitter @brookob.
Question: Since Andrew (McCutchen) has been out and Cesar (Hernandez) and Jean (Segura) have not worked out too well in the leadoff spot, who do you feel would be a good leadoff hitter?
— Marie F., via email
Answer: Thanks for reading and for the question, Marie, especially since I think it was based on my stat of the day from Tuesday’s newsletter.
Once Jay Bruce and J.T. Realmuto return to the lineup, I would go with Scott Kingery at the top of the order. His .385 on-base percentage is second on the team to Rhys Hoskins, he is the fastest player on the team, and he runs the bases as well as anybody on the team. The only thing he does not do a lot is walk, but the way he is hitting right now, it does not matter.