Phillies-Nationals 5 things: Can Phils' bats keep momentum vs. Stephen Strasburg?

Phillies-Nationals 5 things: Can Phils' bats keep momentum vs. Stephen Strasburg?

Phillies (2-3) vs. Nationals (3-2)
1:35 p.m. on CSN and streaming live on and the NBC Sports app

The Phillies are coming off quite a high after putting up a 17-spot on the Nationals Saturday night. It feels somewhat remarkable that the Phillies have outscored the Nats 23-10 in this series but are just 1-1. That's baseball for you.

Anyway, here are five things to know for Sunday afternoon.

1. Breaking out the bats
Whoa. That's the main way to react to seeing Saturday's box score. Watching the onslaught the Phillies had against Jeremy Guthrie in the first inning was mesmerizing, putting up 12 runs before the Nats could even get three outs. 

Four hitters had two-hit games and two had three hits -- Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick. Saunders was a home run from the cycle. Nice to get the newcomers in on the action early. Cesar Hernandez had a pair of extra-base knocks, including a stand-up triple, and Tommy Joseph had his first two hits of the season, raising his average to .118.

The only starter not to get a hit was Freddy Galvis (Aaron Nola even picked up a single). However, Galvis got a run in via a sac fly, so he didn't go home completely empty-handed.

After a game like that so early in the season, you're bound to see some eye-popping numbers. Here are some: Kendrick sports a .444/.474/.667 batting line. Odubel Herrera has a .522 on-base percentage. Guthrie, perhaps pitching in the final game of his 13-season career, now has a 135 ERA, tied with Francisco Liriano for the worst in baseball.

It'll be tough for the Phillies to produce another 17 runs with the guy they'll be facing Sunday.

2. The $175 million man
Stephen Strasburg, now an eight-year veteran, is making the second start of his in the big leagues.

After signing a $175 million extension last season, Strasburg figures to be in Washington for a long time, which means the Phillies will have to continue competing with the overpowering right-hander. Along with Max Scherzer, Strasburg helps create a pretty daunting duo atop the Nationals' rotation for the foreseeable future.

Strasburg made just one start against the Phils last season, getting a win despite allowing four runs in seven innings. For his career, he's 8-2 vs. the Phillies, sporting a 2.37 ERA in 110 innings. It's his best ERA against a division opponent and he's dominated the Phils at times, striking out 138 in 110 innings.

In his opening day start, Strasburg picked up a win over the Marlins. He averaged 95.8 mph on his fastball, touching 98 on MLB's PitchFX system. He struck out just three batters, but didn't walk anyone and gave up just two runs over seven innings. After needing the bullpen for over seven innings Saturday, the Nationals could use another long outing from Strasburg to save some of their arms.

3. Can Hellickson repeat opening day?
For the second straight season, Jeremy Hellickson put together a strong performance on opening day in Cincinnati. And for the second straight year, he'll also be making his first home start against the Nationals. He's hoping it goes much better than last season.

On that game last April 15, the Nationals tattooed him for six runs, five of which were earned, in just three innings. That game distorted his overall numbers against the Nats last season (1-2 with a 5.09 ERA). In his other three starts, he had a 3.60 ERA and even beat the Nats later in April.

The veteran righty, who turned 30 on Saturday, was the Phillies' de facto ace last year and was particularly good at CBP. He was 7-4 with a 3.16 ERA in 99 2/3 innings at home and he seemingly got better as the season went on. His opening day start vs. the Reds was encouraging even though he lasted just 5-plus innings. You'll take a starter holding the opponent to just one run every single time and, unlike last season, the team was able to hold the lead.

4. Players to watch
Phillies: Odubel Herrera really seems to be seeing the ball well in the early going. His quick start to 2017 got him an All-Star appearance and there's no reason he can't do the same this year.

Nationals: After a lackluster 2016, Ryan Zimmerman worked on lifting the ball with authority going into this season. It's been mostly successful with two home runs and a double with a .650 slugging percentage after he had just a .642 OPS (.370 SLG) last year.

5. This and that
• The Phillies had lost seven straight games to the Nationals at CBP before Saturday's win. They haven't won a home series vs. the Nats since Sept. 25-27, 2015.

• Guthrie's loss yesterday tied him with former Pittsburgh Pirate Jim Rooker for the third-most career losses (109) by a pitcher from Oregon. Guthrie has the fifth most wins (91) of any Oregonian. Former Tigers great Mickey Lolich leads both categories.

• Hernandez is 5 for 15 with two doubles off Strasburg. Maikel Franco is 3 for 10 with a home run and two RBI.

• Jayson Werth, Stephen Drew and Daniel Murphy each have one career homer off Hellickson. Bench bat Adam Lind and catcher Matt Wieters have seen him the most of any Nationals, going 10 for 32 and 6 for 30 against the righty, respectively.

Best of MLB: Pirates spoil Rich Hill's no-hitter with walk-off HR in 10th inning

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Best of MLB: Pirates spoil Rich Hill's no-hitter with walk-off HR in 10th inning

PITTSBURGH -- Dodgers lefty Rich Hill lost his perfect game on an error in the ninth inning, then lost his no-hitter on a leadoff home run in the 10th by Josh Harrison that sent the Pittsburgh Pirates over Los Angeles 1-0 Wednesday night.

Hill became the first pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 1995 to take a no-hit try into extra innings.

The Pirates didn't have a runner until Jordy Mercer led off the ninth with a sharp grounder that third baseman Logan Forsythe misplayed for an error. Hill retired the next three batters.

Hill (9-5) came back out for the 10th and Harrison sent his 99th pitch of the night into the first row of seats in left field, just out of the reach of Los Angeles leftfielder Curtis Granderson. Hill struck out 10 without a walk.

Juan Nicasio (2-5) picked up the win after working the top of the 10th (see full recap).

Orioles regroup after Britton’s save streak ends at 60
BALTIMORE -- Zach Britton's AL-record run of converting 60 straight save attempts ended amid the evening shadows of Camden Yards, when the Orioles closer blew a two-run lead and failed to get out of the ninth inning in a game Baltimore ultimately won in the 12th, 8-7 over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday.

Baltimore led 7-5 heading into the ninth when Britton entered to seal the victory, just as he had been doing successfully since the final days of the 2015 season. On this occasion, however, the left-hander gave up three straight hits before a sacrifice fly by Matt Joyce tied it.

Following a walk to Khris Davis, Britton was replaced by Miguel Castro (3-1), who quelled the uprising.

Manny Machado led off the 12th with a home run off Simon Castro (1-2) to end a game that lasted 4 hours, 20 minutes.

Britton's streak began on Oct. 1, 2015, extended through all of last season and went for 11 more saves this year. He had not blown a save since Sept. 20, 2015, at Tampa Bay.

Britton finished well short of Eric Gagne's major league mark of 84, set from 2002-04 (see full recap).

Schwarber, Cubs continue surge with win over Reds
CINCINNATI -- Kyle Schwarber hit a three-run homer in the ballpark near his home, Tommy La Stella added a two-run shot while subbing for Kris Bryant, and the Chicago Cubs kept their second-half surge going with a 9-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday night.

The defending World Series champions have won eight of 10. They are 11 games over .500 for the first time this season and have their biggest lead in the NL Central, 3 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee.

Left-hander Mike Montgomery (4-6) allowed four hits in six shutout innings, filling in for Jon Lester in the rotation. Joey Votto, Eugenio Suarez and Scott Schebler homered in the ninth for the Reds (see full recap).

Instant Replay: Phillies 8, Marlins 0

Instant Replay: Phillies 8, Marlins 0


A trio of rookies stepped up and led the Phillies to an 8-0 win over the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night.

Mark Leiter Jr. spun a gem on the mound, Nick Williams reached base three times and scored three runs and Rhys Hoskins drove in five runs with a homer and a double.

One night earlier, the Marlins pounded out 27 hits and scored 19 runs in sweeping a doubleheader from the Phillies.

The shutout was the Phillies' fourth of the season. Their majors-worst record stands at 46-79.

Starting pitching report
In his fifth big-league start, Leiter pitched seven shutout innings. He held the Marlins hitless for the first five innings. The only hit he gave up was a leadoff double to Miguel Rojas in the sixth. Leiter then got three quick outs. The 26-year-old right-hander walked two and struck out five. All of the strikeouts came in the first two innings.

Marlins lefty Justin Nicolino was tagged for eight hits and six runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia and Hector Neris completed the shutout.

At the plate
The Phillies had 11 hits.

Williams singled with two outs in the first inning and scored on an RBI double by Tommy Joseph. The Phillies hit for the cycle in the third inning and scored five runs. Freddy Galvis and Jorge Alfaro had RBI hits. Hoskins had the big blow, a three-run homer into the second deck above left field. Three innings later, Hoskins smacked a two-run double with two outs. He has seven homers and 16 RBIs since joining the club. All of the homers have come in the last 10 games.

The Marlins had just two hits.

The Phillies added right-hander Drew Anderson from Triple A Lehigh Valley as bullpen insurance. He will likely return to Triple A on Thursday. Outfielder Cameron Perkins was sent to Triple A.

The Phillies signed veteran pitcher Henderson Alvarez to a minor-league contract. He is scheduled to pitch Friday for Lehigh Valley.

Up next
The series concludes on Thursday afternoon. Jake Thompson (1-1, 4.20) will be added to the roster and pitch for the Phillies against Marlins right-hander and former Phillie Vance Worley (2-3, 4.82).

The defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs comes to town to start a three-game series on Friday night.