Phillies and Pivetta set to open crucial series with Nationals

Phillies welcome the Nationals for important set
Nick Pivetta will take the mound tonight for the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park as the club opens a pivotal weekend set with the Washington Nationals. The two clubs are within a half-game of each in a battle for second place in the NL East.

If the season were to end today, both clubs would face each other in a one-game playoff to move into the postseason.

The Phillies come out of the All-Star break with a tough stretch ahead. Following this weekend's series, the club welcomes the National League-best Dodgers to Citizens Bank Park, then heads to Pittsburgh next weekend.

It's a make-or-break type week for the Phillies, no doubt about it.

Pivetta has struggled over his last four outings, pitching to an 0-2 mark and a 7.33 ERA. He also has a career ERA against the Nationals north of 10.00 and is 1-6 in nine appearances.

The Nationals counter in the opener with Stephen Strasburg who was remarkable in his last performance, collecting 14 strikeouts in a dominant performance against the Marlins. He also has outstanding career figures against the Phillies with a 12-2 record and 2.72 ERA in 25 career starts against Philadelphia.



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The Nationals boast the best record (28-11, .718) in Major League Baseball since May 24, ahead of the Dodgers (28-14, .667). The Nats have won 10 of their last 12 and 15 of their last 19 games. The club has also homered in 21 straight games, the longest streak in team history and franchise (MON/WSH) history.

Arrieta Update
Manager Gabe Kapler said earlier this week that Jake Arrieta will make Sunday's start despite dealing with a bone chip in his throwing elbow. The hurler underwent X-rays and is in a position to remain in the rotation until his performance or pain threshold indicates otherwise. Kapler went so far as to say earlier this week that a somewhat-injured Arrieta is a better option than what is available right now down on the farm.

Realmuto Unavailable
The club placed Realmuto on the paternity leave list and selected the contract of catcher Rob Brantly from Lehigh Valley. To make room on the 40-man roster, the club transferred Pat Neshek to the 60-day IL.

Tonight's Lineup
Kingery 8
Segura 6
Harper 9
Hoskins 3
Bruce 7
Hernandez 4
Franco 5
Knapp 2
Pivetta 1
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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