The Phillies have set their pitching rotation for this weekend’s three-game series against the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
Zack Wheeler will stay on his day and pitch Friday night. Spencer Howard, who was rained out of his scheduled start Wednesday in Cincinnati, will pitch on Saturday afternoon and Vince Velasquez will stay on turn and pitch Sunday afternoon.
Because of Thursday’s off day, the Phillies could have juggled the rotation to get Nola on the mound Sunday.
Instead, the Phillies juggled their rotation to get Zach Eflin off the mound.
Eflin’s spot in the rotation would have come up Saturday. The Phillies have not announced a rotation beyond Sunday. Monday is an off day.
It’s possible that Eflin could get the ball for Tuesday night’s series opener against Atlanta. In that case, the right-hander would be pitching on eight days’ rest. Nola could pitch the second game of the Braves series on extra rest Wednesday. Wheeler could then start the series finale next Thursday with an extra day of rest.
Manager Joe Girardi was not available to comment on the pitching schedule but he will do so before Friday’s game. Every indication is he’s just giving Eflin and Nola a little extra rest heading into an important month of June. In his career, Nola has typically pitched well with an extra day or two between starts.
The Phillies' top three starters have all carried a heavy load this season. Wheeler ranks fourth in the majors with 75 innings pitched. Nola is tied for 12th at 70 1/3 and Eflin ranks 18th with 68.
On the injury front, Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius are both eligible to come off the injured list. However, it’s unclear if either will in the coming days. Harper, out with a wrist contusion, is considered ahead of Gregorius, who has battled a bone bruise on his right elbow and could require a few games of minor-league rehab before being activated.
The Phillies will face three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer on Friday night. Washington will use right-hander Joe Ross on Saturday. The Nats have not yet named a starter for Sunday.
Scherzer is 4-4 with a 2.34 ERA in 11 starts this season. He has struck out 95 and walked 14 in 69 1/3 innings. In 21 career starts against the Phillies, he is 11-4 with a 2.70 ERA and he is 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA in eight starts at Citizens Bank Park.
Wheeler, who will oppose Scherzer on Friday night, is 7-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 13 starts as a Phillie at Citizens Bank Park.
COVID-19 attendance restrictions have been lifted in Philadelphia. Friday night’s game will be the first with a completely open ballpark since the end of the 2019 season.