Phillies-Nationals Preview

Max Scherzer -- no surprise -- gave the host Washington Nationals a big lift in a doubleheader sweep on Wednesday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now the Nationals will try to build on that momentum, albeit with a slight tweak to their pitching rotation, for the series finale on Thursday night.

Washington manager Dave Martinez said after Wednesday's 2-0 win in the nightcap that Erick Fedde would start on Thursday against the Phillies while Stephen Strasburg will get the ball Friday night to begin a series against the Atlanta Braves.

Before the Nationals were rained out Monday and Tuesday, Strasburg was slated to start on Thursday against the Phillies.

"We set it up that way, actually yesterday," Martinez told reporters of the new rotation. Fedde (1-1, 3.68 ERA) has pitched in 10 games this season, with five starts.

He is 2-1 with 4.32 ERA in three games -- all starts in 2018 -- in his career against the Phillies.

The Phillies will start former Washington minor league player Nick Pivetta (4-1, 5.00) on Thursday. He has struggled against the Nationals in his career, going 1-5 with a 10.94 ERA in eight games, with seven starts.

The Nationals swept the doubleheader 6-2 and 2-0 on Wednesday as Brian Dozier hit a home run in each game and Scherzer threw seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts in the second game.

"It was a good day," Martinez said. "Get some rest, come back tomorrow. Just go 1-0."

"A long day. Two wins -- I'll take it," Dozier added.

Scherzer broke his nose when he bunted a ball against his face during batting practice Tuesday. He had a black eye Wednesday but didn't need a protective mask. He struck out 10 batters for the 88th time in his career -- the most of any active pitcher.

"He's the best pitcher in the game for a reason," Dozier said. "He wants the ball when he has a broken nose."

The Washington pitchers did a good job Wednesday against Bryce Harper, who played for the Nationals from 2012-18. Harper was 0-for-2 with two walks in both games.

"They were not going to let him beat us," Martinez said.

Harper has still reached base in all 10 games against the Nationals this year. He entered Wednesday third in the National League in walks, and he now has 47 this season with 12 homers and an average of .243.

Dozier joined slugger Adam Dunn as the only Nationals to hit a homer in each game of a doubleheader. He has 12 homers this year, though nine are on the road.

"He is a veteran guy," Martinez said. "He has done this for many years. He is having fun."

"We kept the line moving," Dozier said.

Washington center fielder Victor Robles, who didn't start the first game, hit a homer in the eighth inning in Game 2. That gave him 10 homers this year and he is now batting .236.

The Nationals posted their fifth shutout of the year on Wednesday, though their four hits were the fewest they have had in a win this year.

Phillies reliever Pat Neshek left the second game in the eighth inning with a strained left hamstring, according to MLB.com. Neshek, who was on the injured list from May 25 through Saturday with a strained shoulder, is likely headed back to the IL, MLB.com quoted manager Gabe Kapler as saying after the game.

--Field Level Media
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