Friday, April 15, 2016

An early test for Phillies as Nationals come to town

Jeremy Hellickson takes the mound tonight as the Phillies welcome the Nationals to town.
One of baseball's most intriguing story lines over the first two weeks of the season is the success of the Phillies' starting staff.

Philadelphia's starters lead the majors in strikeouts (75), WHIP (0.81), opponents batting average (.173), and a number of other statistically significant categories. The starting staff ERA of 2.07 through ten games is the lowest mark in franchise history since 1972.

Jeremy Hellickson - tonight's starter - is ranked second in the NL with a 0.60 WHIP and eighth in ERA(1.54). He won on Sunday against the Mets, tossing 5 2/3 innings while surrendering two runs on three hits. He struck out five.

The Nationals come to town riding a four-game sweep of the Braves. Their 7-1 record marks a franchise best dating back to the 1972 Expos when they started the season with the same record.

Like the Phillies, the Nationals have relied on strong pitching to start the season. The Nats starting staff has put together a 2.33 ERA through eight games.

Nationals starter Joe Ross tossed seven innings in his last start for the Nationals, surrendering one run on five hits. The righty kept right-handed hitters to a .174 average last season.

Tonight's Phillies Lineup 
1. Emmanuel Burris, 4
2. Freddy Galvis, 6
3. Odubel Herrera, 8
4. Maikel Franco, 5
5. Ryan Howard, 3
6. Carlos Ruiz, 2
7. Cedric Hunter, 7
8. Peter Bourjos, 9
9. Jeremy Hellickson, 1

Remembering Jackie Robinson
On April 15, 1947, Robinson broke baseball's color barrier and became the first African American player in Major League history. All on field personnel will wear No. 42 jerseys today in his honor. It's the eight consecutive year all players and coaches will wear No. 42, which was universally retired in 1997.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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