Philadelphia Phillies Take on Washington Nationals, Look For Rare Sweep

The Philadelphia Phillies (47-57, 26-28 away) may seem to have written off their season by sending away two of their most valuable players, Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino off to greener pastures, however that hasn’t stopped them from becoming a thorn in the side of other teams firmly in the playoff picture, such as the Washington Nationals (61-42, 28-21 home). After dropping 8 of 9 games to the Nationals coming into this week’s series, the Phillies now look to secure a 3-game series sweep of the pitching-centric Nats, with a big opportunity to do so behind their 144 million dollar man, Cole Hamels (11-5, 3.31 ERA), who has by far been the bright spot for the Phillies in this otherwise forgetful season. With a great match-up on the mound tonight as Hamels gets set to take on Ross Detweiler (5-4, 3.24 ERA), there’s plenty of reason to want to get into this pivotal match-up for online sports betting at one of the top reviewed online sportsbooks found right here at CR.

The Washington Nationals tonight will look to avoid their first sweep in six weeks, and in order to do so they’ll have to overcome their nemesis on the mound, in the form of Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels. Hamels has been simply dominant over Washington, even if the Phillies as a team have not been so, posting a 5-0 record at Washington with a 1.80 ERA in 9 road starts against them. In fact, over his last 14 starts in total against the Nats, Hamels has accumulated a 9-2 record with a 2.15 ERA, showing that no matter where he pitches against them, Hamels has the confidence and the control to keep the runs to a minimum, and the Washington bats supremely frustrated. With the Phillies allowing just 2 runs to the Nationals in the two games of this series so far, Hamels certainly knows that the key to a Phillies sweep is to prevent the offense of Washington from bubbling up, and he’s proven he can be the guy to do that this year, having already won both his starts while providing two 8-inning performances giving up a total of 1 run. With the talent of the Washington pitching rotation, often times the team that can keep the opposing team to fewer than 3 runs is the first past the post. Hamels will have to do that tonight against a very good young pitcher in Ross Detweiler, who has pitched brilliantly this season but has definitely been hindered by a lack of run support.

Detweiler though comes off one of his shakiest outings of the year, having given up 4 runs in 4 2/3 innings pitched in a loss against Milwaukee last week. Having suffered his first loss in 7 starts, Detweiler will look to regain confidence against a team he owned in his last outing last year, with a 7 inning, 3-hit performance that saw him take a victory in a 3-0 ballgame. One thing that is usually the case for Detweiler, is that when he takes the mound, the margin of victory for either team in play is typically very small. Aside from last week’s rare poor performance in a 6-0 loss, and Washington’s blowout 9-2 win against Atlanta the week before, Detweiler had been involved in 5 straight 1-run ballgames, none of which he earned a decision in. With a pitching duel like this one, and Detweiler earning a 4-1 record with a 2.83 ERA at home, signs further point to this match-up being extra tight, with possibly another no decision coming for the young Nats’ pitcher. A definite advantage, and possible reasoning for siding with Washington tonight though, is the fact that Philadelphia is lacking even more on offense coming into tonight than they were in Game 1 of the series (missing both Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino), and also the fact that Detweiler hasn’t been seen by the current Phillies’ line-up this season. With Detweiler improving his pitching selection and showing excellent command all season long, that could bode well for Washington to finally win a game against Cole Hamels on their own turf.

A few key players to watch for at the plate tonight who could make a difference include Jimmy Rollins of Philadelphia, who has had a mastery of Ross Detweiler over his career. Rollins has gone 6-for-15 with 3 doubles against the 26 year-old, and has 3 homers and 4 RBIs in this series alone. With Rollins struggling after the All-Star break batting just .221 over the last 16 games, he could be a huge boost for the Phillies in what should be a low-scoring contest. Nate Schierholtz, acquired by Philadelphia in the Hunter Pence trade, may be another player to watch out for tonight, coming of a 2-for-5 outing in his first start for the Phillies yesterday. He’s 1-for-3 with a double against Ross Detweiler, and should be anxious to keep proving his worth to his new organization. Keep an eye on hitters like Carlos Ruiz, the top power producer for the Phils this season, as well as a possible resurgence blooming for Ryan Howard, who has been trying to work his way back into the lineup and into his usual production. Though he’s 0-for-4 against Detweiler, and just 2-for-18 in his last week of play, a step-up could be inevitable as Howard realizes he’s the last remaining true source of power left for the Phillies this season.

For the Nationals at the plate, scoring runs has been a struggle in this series, as Cliff Lee, Vance Worley and the Philadelphia bullpen have been outstanding and have allowed just 2 runs over 18 innings of play thus far. There is really only one player, Bryce Harper, who’s had any success against Hamels, going 3-for-6 against him this season. Adam LaRoche however could be one to continue his hot streak, as he’s batting .394 with 3 homers and 7 RBI during a 9-game hitting effort. LaRoche may only have 4 hits in 19 at-bats against Hamels, but he’s made those count with 3 home runs and 5 RBIs in the process. Another Washington hitter with a 9-game hitting streak is Michael Morse, who comes off strong month of July where he hit .305 with 5 home runs and 19 RBIs. With Washington short on power right now, his contributions would especially come in handy against Hamels, who may only give up 1 or 2 runs in a tight ballgame tonight.

Betting lines for Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals at Bookmaker Sportsbook.

The Washington Nationals at home tonight are slight favorites to win straight up on the money line, garnering -121 odds. However, the money at Bookmaker sportsbook is going in favor of the underdog Phillies to complete the sweep, at +101 odds today.

Against the spread, Washington is a 1 ½ run favorite getting -185 odds. Nearly 90 percent of wagers placed thus far are taking the Nationals to cover tonight. For the Phillies, the poor odds (-215) taking them to stay within 1 ½ runs as underdogs has pushed most wagers into the Washington corner on the spread.

For the total runs line, the over/under stands firm at 7, with a low-scoring game expected from the presence of two quality pitchers on the mound. The under bet at even money is seeing just over half of bettors going that direction, while the over bet at -120 odds leans to the minority of pickers.

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