TiqIQ Series Preview: Phillies @ Nationals
by Bart Johnston, TiqIQ
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Tickets remain available for the weekend tilt against the cross-divisional rival Phillies. The series average for a single ticket is $49 with the Saturday game being the most expensive. On Friday the Nationals tickets average is $45 with a get-in price of $9. On Saturday, the average ticket is $53.20 while the lowest price is $14, and on Sunday the average price is $49 with the lowest price at $11. With the Nationals looking to get the season back on track and reel in the division-leading Atlanta Braves, these tickets provide a great opportunity to support the team in the great May D.C. weather.
When the Washington Nationals return to the friendly confines of National Park, it will be the first time they have played at home in nearly two weeks. Following a ten-day West Coast swing, the somewhat struggling Nats will look to get back on track with a weekend series against the Philadelphia Phillies before the Baltimore Orioles stop in for a two-day midweek series in the Battle of the Beltway.
Outfielder Bryce Harper returned to the Nationals’ lineup on Monday after being sidelined for the final two games of the Padres’ series with a bruised left knee. Harper, in his second year in the majors, leads the team in homers with 11 and is the only player on the squad with double digit home runs. He is an integral part of the team, mainly batting third or fourth in the lineup, and is hitting .288 on the year, also tops on the team. Along with third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Harper has 22 RBI’s which also leads the Nationals. Without Harper in the lineup, Washington struggled to get the bats going against the Padres and lost both games without him. They did not fare much better on Monday in San Francisco though, falling 8-0 to the Giants as an all-too-familiar problem scoring runs manifested itself once again in the 2013 season.
Despite a relatively solid pitching staff, the Nationals have scored the third fewest runs in the majors and will look to get back on track against a Phillies’ rotation which has given up the fourth most runs in the National League. On Friday, Washington will send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound, who boasts a stellar 7-2 record to go along with a 1.62 ERA. Zimmerman allowed only two runs on seven hits in a complete game his last time out. The Phillies have righty Kyle Kendrick pitching who also has a sub-3.00 ERA (2.82) and a 4-2 record for a team which has also struggled with scoring runs this year.
In the final two starts the Phillies will likely send out righty Jonathan Pettibone who is 3-0 on the year with a 3.00 ERA and then a struggling Cole Hamels on Friday who is now 1-7 on the season. The Nationals will likely start Dan Haren on Saturday and perhaps Zach Duke on Sunday, but Duke struggled in his last outing, and first start of the year, on Monday giving up 4 runs on 7 hits in just 3.1 innings.