|12:35 PM PT1:35 PM MT2:35 PM CT3:35 PM ET15:35 ET19:35 GMT3:35 12:35 PM MST2:35 PM EST3:05 PM VEN23:35 UAE1:35 PM CT, July 29, 2021
Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Attendance: 19,219
After COVID-19-led postponement, Nats-Phils twin bill set
The Washington Nationals received some unsettling news Wednesday when four players and eight staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
They're scheduled to play the host Philadelphia Phillies in a doubleheader Thursday, with the first game set for 12:05 p.m. Wednesday's game was postponed to allow for further testing and contact tracing.
Trea Turner left Tuesday's game in the first inning and ultimately tested positive.
"Some of the guys are asymptomatic, some are symptomatic," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "It's unfortunate this happened, but we've got to follow MLB protocols."
The four players who tested positive will not be available for the doubleheader.
"Thus far, nobody has gotten very sick, which is a good thing. I do believe the vaccinations have helped that in a big way," said Martinez, who added that some people who tested positive were vaccinated.
"Once again, I encourage people to get vaccinated. Like I said, it does help -- I'm seeing it firsthand. The guys that are getting sick, it's basically kind of a small head cold, but they're doing fine."
Patrick Corbin was expected to start Wednesday's game, but the Nationals haven't announced starters for Thursday's games. It's possible that Max Scherzer could start one of the games. Scherzer was scratched from his last start with right triceps soreness.
Corbin (6-9, 5.71 ERA) is 6-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 12 career starts against the Phillies.
"I know he's worked really hard on staying in his legs a little more, and that could be why the tick in velo is up a little bit," Martinez said.
The Phillies were unable to build on the positive momentum of Andrew McCutchen's walk-off, three-run homer on Monday. They fell 6-1 and ultimately dropped to .500 again with a 6-4 loss.
Bryce Harper had three hits, including the first inside-the-park home run of his career. McCutchen also homered for the second straight game. He has 19 for the season.
"Pitching and defense will always be king in this game," Harper said. "We need to be better."
"We're a resilient club," McCutchen said. "We know what we're capable of doing. It doesn't matter what the score is. It doesn't matter what inning. We know if we keep it close, we have an opportunity to win the ballgame."
The Phillies will send Zack Wheeler to the mound in the first game on Thursday as they attempt to take control of the series. Wheeler (8-5, 2.37 ERA) is 6-13 with a 4.54 ERA in his career against the Nationals, covering 23 starts.
Wheeler, an All-Star this season, has continued to make a strong case for the National League Cy Young Award.
"His work in between is incredibly consistent," Phillies pitching coach Caleb Cotham said of Wheeler. "He feels really good. I'm sure we'll potentially have more conversations, but you're always keeping tabs on that just in light of last year. So far, he's been very strong with virtually no hiccups. He's been one of the best."
Vince Velasquez (3-5, 5.54) is scheduled to pitch the second game. He is 0-3 in his last four starts with a 10.91 ERA in 15 2/3 innings. In 11 appearances against the Nationals, including 10 starts, he is 2-2 with a 5.13 ERA.
--Field Level Media
Updated July 29, 2021