It’s rather hard to believe (or not, depending what side of the fanbase you fall on), but the Philadelphia Phillies have yet to win a series away from home in 2021. They’ve had their fair share of chances (most notably this past weekend against Atlanta), but they’ve consistently found a way to blow games on the road this season.
The team’s current road woes are a major reason they’re sat behind the Mets in the NL East standings, despite a rather impressive 13-6 record at Citizens Bank Park.
Even after last night’s win over the Nationals, the Phillies are still just 5-11 when playing on the road. A .313 winning percentage for those keeping track at home.
However, following the team’s 6-2 victory on Tuesday thanks to some impressive performances from the likes of Bryce Harper and Odubel Herrera, the consistently inconsistent Phillies find themselves in a rather promising position when it comes to capturing their first road series of the season. Zack Wheeler is set to pitch on Wednesday night and Zach Eflin the following afternoon, two pitchers who have frequently poured in good outings for Philadelphia this season.
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Wheeler in particular has been rather exceptional thus far, possessing a 2.83 ERA across seven starts. His 1.5 WAR is tied with J.T. Realmuto atop the Phillies roster, and he’s coming off his first career complete game shutout while wearing Phillies pinstripes.
Eflin hasn’t been nearly as effective as Wheeler, but he continues to operate as one of the better starting pitchers in the National League this season. He has a 3.38 ERA across seven starts, and his 1.4 WAR has him slotted right behind Wheeler in terms of Phillies pitchers at the moment.
With Wheeler and Eflin on the mound, Phillies should be able to secure a series win on the road this week.
On the flip side, the Nationals are sending veteran left-handers Jon Lester and Patrick Corbin out to the mound over the next two games, two pitchers who really shouldn’t be striking a ton of fear into the Phillies’ hitters at the moment. Lester has only logged 10 innings of work for Washington this season, and Corbin is set to enter Thursday with a 7.36 ERA.
While the Phillies offense has undoubtedly been up-and-down over the past few weeks, it does feel like the team is due to find some rhythm sooner rather than later. The returns of Harper and Jean Segura this past weekend were major boosts, Andrew McCutchen has started making better contact as of late, and the before mentioned Odubel Herrera has a 1.011 OPS over his past seven games.
If there was ever a time to step on the gas in regards to offensive production, the following two matchups against Lester and Corbin would be said time.
While it feels rather unlikely that the Phils are going to exit D.C. with a complete sweep, winning at least one of the next two games feels like a necessity at the moment. Not only for win-loss purposes, but to finally shake off the bad juju that’s surrounding this year’s squad and road games.