3 things to watch for as Nationals begin crucial series vs. Phillies

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The Nationals begin a crucial 10-game road trip when they face Bryce Harper and the Phillies Friday night. Here are three things to keep an eye on:

  1. Washington heads into this series against their NL East rivals with several key pieces on the injured list, including Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner and Ryan Zimmerman. Additionally, Juan Soto has missed two straight games due to back spasms. It will be up to the likes of Adam Eaton, Victor Robles, Matt Adams and others to carry the load on offense without some of the big bats in the lineup.
  2. Jeremy Hellickson is scheduled to start Friday night, and he’ll need to pitch far better than he did in his last outing when he allowed six runs (five earned) in just three innings of work against the Padres. The Nats ultimately won that game 7-6, but with Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins, J.T. Realmuto and company waiting for them in Philadelphia, Hellickson and the Nats might not be so lucky this time around.
  3. Speaking of Harper, the former Nats slugger is in the midst of a slump for the Phillies, going 3-for-32 in his last 10 games. The Philadelphia boo birds are starting to chirp at him, but with Washington coming to town, Harper may get the extra motivation he needs to heat up at the plate.

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