Phillies, Nationals clash in MLB Little League Classic

Phillies, Nationals clash in MLB Little League Classic

Big innings have been the norm in this series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals.

If those continue when the teams meet Sunday night in Williamsport, Pa., during the MLB Little League Classic, quite a buzz could develop.

This will be the rubber match of the three-game series, with the first two games in Washington, D.C The Phillies didn’t score until the seventh inning Saturday but left with a 12-3 victory to snap Washington’s three-game winning streak.

Both teams had six-run fourth innings in Friday night’s contest, and multiple-run innings continued in the next game.

The Phillies need a spark as they’ve won only two of their past six games.

“We needed that energy,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Everybody was kind of down.”

Washington ran short of relievers Saturday and figuring out how the puzzle works Sunday will be part of the process.

In a game in which the Nationals led in the seventh inning, they ended up using third baseman Ildemaro Vargas on the mound in the ninth.

“Good news is that (Sunday) these guys should be available to pitch, and we got a chance to win a series,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said.

The spectators will be mostly Little League World Series players and their families. The game is to be played at Bowman Field, which is home to the Williamsport Crosscutters of the collegiate MLB Draft League. The Nationals will be the designated home team.

Phillies shortstop Trea Turner homered twice in the team’s eight-run eighth inning on Saturday. He said the Phillies need to withstand rough stretches.

“One minute you can be a good player, the next minute you can be bad,” Turner said. “Keep your head up and keep going.”

Right-hander Zack Wheeler (9-5, 3.63 ERA) will take the mound on Sunday for the Phillies in a change from the projected starters at the beginning of the series. Ranger Suarez was scratched for the series finale because of a sore hamstring.

“We don’t know how long it’s going to be,” Thomson said of Suarez.

The good part for the Phillies is that Wheeler, who last pitched Tuesday at Toronto, will work on normal rest. He’s 2-0 in his past four starts, including a victory at home Aug. 8 versus the Nationals when he gave up three runs in six innings.

Wheeler has lasted at least six innings in his past seven starts. Against the Nationals, he has compiled more career victories than against any opponent with a 12-14 record and 4.66 ERA.

Also, the Phillies expect to have outfielder Brandon Marsh back from an injury rehabilitation stint for an ailing knee.

Right-hander Trevor Williams (5-7, 5.20) gets the call for the Nationals. He hasn’t posted a victory since July 2, but that came in Philadelphia after limiting the Phillies to three runs in five innings.

But he gave up six runs, including three home runs, in 4 2/3 innings against the Phillies on Aug. 8 in Philadelphia.

Williams is 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA in nine career appearances (seven starts) against the Phillies.

—Field Level Media

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.