Nats’ Scherzer lurks as Phils look to extend winning streak

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The Philadelphia Phillies will be looking for their third consecutive victory when they host the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.

The Phillies moved above .500 at 16-15 after a resounding 6-0 win on Tuesday. The Phillies have opened this four-game series with a pair of wins.

Rhys Hoskins stayed red-hot for the Phillies with a double and single on Tuesday for his fourth straight multi-hit game. Hoskins has also homered in three of the last four games.

“I’m just trying to be in attack mode,” Hoskins said. “Trust my eyes whether to swing or not to swing. I’ve been able to barrel the ball more as of late.”

The Phillies will hand the ball to right-hander Zack Wheeler to try and extend the winning streak. Wheeler, who signed in the offseason as a free agent for $118 million over five years, is 3-0 with a 2.58 ERA.

Wheeler will be making his seventh of the season. But he hasn’t fared well against the Nationals in his career, going 5-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi said he has been thrilled with Wheeler’s demeanor.

“The one thing I have not seen from Zack is emotion,” Girardi said. “He’s kind of the same every day. I think it’s a great trait for a starting pitcher because I think they’ll be able to be consistent every time they go out.”

The Phillies added depth before Monday’s trade deadline by acquiring reliever David Phelps from the Milwaukee Brewers. Phelps, who hasn’t appeared yet, will provide assistance to a revamped bullpen, which has struggled at times this season.

“Excited about it,” said Girardi, who managed Phelps in his time with the New York Yankees. “I just think it gives me many more options of what to do.”

The reeling Nationals (12-21) will hope to avoid a fifth straight loss when they hand the ball to right-hander Max Scherzer.

Scherzer, who’s 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA, holds an impressive 5-0 career mark with a 2.40 ERA at Citizens Bank Park. Overall, Scherzer is 11-3 with a 2.62 ERA in 20 career starts against the Phillies.

Scherzer’s last outing was in Boston, and he was terrific, allowing six hits and one run in six innings. He struck out 11 and walked none.

Scherzer said he adjusted his mechanics, leading to one of his strongest starts of the season.

“Made a tweak,” Scherzer said. “I saw some video where my hands were lower. I raised my hands and kind of squared up my shoulders and kept my left shoulder from rolling forward. And I felt like I was in a better direction. And I felt like that really allowed me to really just be able to execute high fastballs with a lot more ease.”

Scherzer has always taken pride in pitching deep into starts. For the Nationals to snap this losing streak, they’ll likely need at least seven innings.

“Finishing strong at the end, I know I can finish strong at the end,” Scherzer said. “I train, I do everything I can. The fact that I haven’t been able to do it, is just — I didn’t get the job done, but I always know that I can.”

Trea Turner had his 16-game hitting streak snapped on Tuesday and the Nationals managed only four hits overall.

–Field Level Media

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