The Philadelphia Phillies open a huge series against the Washington Nationals on Monday, May 21. This is the second series between the two teams this season and the first in Philadelphia. The Phillies are coming off a week in which they finished 5-2 and finally climbed above .500. Of course, they didn't stay there long.
The Phillies enter this series with a 21-21 record. They need to take at least two out of three in order to stay within striking distance of the crowded National League East. As a fan, I am very excited for this battle. This is a growing rivalry and the Philadelphia crowds should be more than ready for it.
Here are a few reasons why this series is a big one:
There has been trash talk
Philadelphia fans don't like being insulted by players from other cities. Two members of the Nationals have taken shots at the team recently. Ex-Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth seemed to blame the entire town for the heckling of a few ignorant fans. Meanwhile, rookie Bryce Harper referenced the possibility of having batteries thrown at him. Neither of them seems to get Philadelphia--and that is just fine with us. Werth will miss the series with a wrist injury, but expect Harper to receive a rude welcome when he first steps to the plate.
The Cole Hamels factor
All eyes will be on Hamels when he pitches in the series finale on Wednesday, May 23. The last time Hamels faced the Nationals, he plunked Harper on purpose and admitted it. That drew the wrath of Washington's general manager, not to mention many others around the country. Hamels has been dominant so far in 2012, but this outing will carry a little more emotion. It will be interesting to see if the Nationals try to throw at him during this game. No matter what happens, it will draw more attention than the other two games.
It's a big series
For the Phillies, this is a huge series. While the team is playing much better, they still sit in fifth place. They have to take advantage when they face division rivals. A strong showing in this series should pull them out of the cellar and closer to first place. In addition, they lost the first series against Washington in 2012. They don't want to drop the first two.* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and lifelong Phillies fan.
- Sports & Recreation
- Washington Nationals
- Cole Hamels
- Jayson Werth