Philadelphia and Washington conclude their three-game series on ESPN on Sunday night baseball. Both teams are trying a catch Atlanta in the NL East and a victory would help the cause.
With Philadelphia having 12-2 series-opening win, the Phillies will try and make it at least two (Saturday’s results not known as this went to post) victories in the series against the Nationals.
This has given Swinging Johnson a lot of confidence to take Philadelphia in the Sunday night matchup. The Phillies might be on the road, but their starting pitcher Nick Pivetta (4-6, 4.08 ERA) is at least a proven commodity compared to Washington’s Jefry Rodriguez (4.66), who is making just his second start and third appearance in the big leagues.
The MLB odds had Washington as -125 opening favorite with a total of 9. No doubt Philadelphia is tempting, but SJ is going to end up feeling like Colin Cowherd after going face to face with Baker Mayfield.
Though Pivetta has a losing record, he has not been a detriment to Philadelphia since overall they are 9-6 in his starts, with five of those wins coming when he’s not gotten a decision. Though the right-hander can be effective, he has a 6.23 ERA on the road. When Pivetta has runners on or opposing players in scoring position, he gives up a .300 batting average and close to a .800 OPS (.788).
Rodriguez has an upper 90’s fastball and power curve, but he was suspended most of last year for PED’s. Before this, he suffered a hairline fracture in his non-throwing wrist in 2014 and pitched just 33 innings which has stunted his growth. The talent is there, just not the experience.