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Game Thread 5/6: Nationals at Phillies

Saturday in the park: We’ve been waiting such a long time

Washington Nationals v Philadelphia Phillies
“Skip, every time you say ‘leverage,’ we all know you mean ‘exploit,’ so stop it already.”
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Let’s look on the bright side, Phillies fans: First off, it’s Saturday, which so far in 2017 has been the winningest day of the week (3-1) for the team.

Second, Nationals starting pitcher A. J. Cole, who was recently recalled from AAA Syracuse this week to replace Joe Ross, is starting tonight. A. J. Cole is many things, I’m sure; and I suspect his family loves him a great deal. But he hasn’t fared well recently as a pitcher, whether in the majors last year, or, for that matter, in the minor leagues.

Cole faced the Phillies last year on September 8 and lost, giving up four runs (and two home runs, but to Peter Bourjous and Ryan Howard, so there’s that) in five innings. Cole’s major issue on the mound is surrendering home runs - last year he gave up 7 in 38.1 IP. To his credit, I’ll note also in that game late last year that he walked no one and struck out 8. But those were September 2016 Phillies, so they almost don’t count.

Third, for the second night in a row there’s no Bryce Harper in the lineup, as he still is day-to-day because of his groin. Who among us isn’t, really? Get well soon, but when I write that I really mean Monday, Bryce.

Pitching for the Phillies is Vince Velasquez, who will face the Nationals for the second time this season. He pitched the Home Opener on April 7, and generally flummoxed the Nationals by walking three and striking out 10. The only problem was two home runs, and of course Vince was being Vince, and needed 94 pitches to get through four innings. But take heart: So far Velasquez has gone 4, 5, 6, 6.1, and 5 innings - the last of which coming in the last Phillies win against the Cubs.

So here are the lineups:

Today's Lineups

Trea Turner - SS Cesar Hernandez - 2B
Jayson Werth - LF Brock Stassi - LF
Daniel Murphy - 2B Odubel Herrera - CF
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Maikel Franco - 3B
Anthony Rendon - 3B Tommy Joseph - 1B
Matt Wieters - C Michael Saunders - RF
Michael Taylor - CF Freddy Galvis - SS
Rafael Bautista - RF Cameron Rupp - C
A.J. Cole - RHP Vince Velasquez - RHP

Or if you want that Twitter-style:

So wait... is that Brock Stassi in left field? Like all the people who reply to @Phillies, the kid deserves a shot to play every day, right? Right? Go get ‘em, ASTASSIN!

Discuss the game below. For heaven’s sake, win this one, Phillies.