Opposite dugout: Phillies coming off three-game sweep by Mets

PhilliesLogo.jpgManager: Pete Mackanin (4th season)

Record: 3-6

Last 10 games: 3-6

Who to watch: LF Howie Kendrick (.355, 5 RBIs), CF Odúbel Herrera (.313/.421/.375), SS Freddy Galvis (2 HR), 3B Maikel Franco (2 HR, 8 RBIs), RHP Aaron Nola (1-0, 4.50 ERA), RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 0.90 ERA), RHP Joaquín Benoit (0.00 ERA in 4 games)

Season series vs. Nationals: 2-1

Pitching probables:

April 14: RHP Aaron Nola vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg, 4:05 p.m., MASN
April 15: RHP Jeremy Hellickson vs. RHP Tanner Roark, 1:05 p.m., MASN2
April 16: RHP Jerad Eickhoff vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez, 1:35 p.m., MASN2

Inside the Phillies:

Remember last weekend when the Phillies took two of three from the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park? Well, any momentum the guys from the City of Brotherly Love gained has disappeared faster than a cheesesteak at a construction site during lunchtime. The Phillies were promptly swept at home by the Mets, outscored 23-11 in the process, and suddenly look a lot more like an also-ran than a potentially pesky opponent. But that's to be expected in a rebuilding phase, and that's where the Phillies are for the time being. They'll have brief periods of success - as they did against the Nats last weekend - followed by series where they're manhandled. And they will endure bad news: right-hander Clay Buchholz is off to see Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on a flexor tendon tear in his pitching arm, a blow to a rotation already thin on veteran leadership.

The Phillies desperately need for their few reliable power bats to produce, and third baseman Maikel Franco appears to be awakening from his early-season slumber. He homered Wednesday, his second longball of the Phillies' homestand, and has six RBIs in his past six games. Center fielder Odúbel Herrera had an eight-game hitting streak snapped by the Mets on Wednesday and is currently batting .313. Left fielder Howie Kendrick is hitting .355 and the Phillies are going to have to find at-bats for outfielder Daniel Nava, who is slashing .571/.667/1.571 in limited duty. Second baseman César Hernández has been a reliable presence at the top of the batting order - he was 10-for-27 on the homestand and is hitting .308 for the season.

Right-hander Aaron Nola was the beneficiary of the Phillies' 12-run first inning against the Nats on April 8, picking up a win in his initial 2017 start by scattering seven hits and allowing three runs over six innings. It was his first career victory against the Nationals in seven starts. Current Nationals are raking .309/.340/.564 against the right-hander. Righty Jeremy Hellickson yielded only a hit in five scoreless innings against the Nats on April 9, but got a no-decision. He's made seven lifetime starts against Washington, going 1-3 with a 4.93 ERA. The Nationals missed right-hander Jerad Eickhoff in the previous series, and he's pitched well, posting a 1.98 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and .174 average against through two winless starts. Eickhoff is 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA in three career starts against the Nats. Teams have shown a propensity for getting to him early, as his 4.40 ERA in the first inning suggests.

Since the last series against the Nationals, the Phillies have changed closers. Jeanmar Gómez is out, a victim of suddenly decreased velocity and frustrating inconsistency. His replacement is Joaquin Benoít, a journeyman who has pitched for seven teams in a 16-year career. He last closed regularly for the Tigers in 2013, when he recorded 24 saves, and has yet to have a save opportunity for Philadelphia.

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