Kyle Schwarber played for the Washington Nationals for part of last season and routinely crushed balls at Nationals Park.
Schwarber now plays for the Philadelphia Phillies, but he showed that he still loves hitting at the ballpark in his first appearance of 2022. He belted two homers on Thursdayand he will look to go deep again when the Phillies and Nationals play a doubleheader on Friday.
Schwarber played in 40 games at Nationals Park during his four months with the Nationals before being traded to the Boston Red Sox. He smashed 17 homers, including the first three-homer game of his career on June 20 against the New York Mets.
Overall, he has hit 20 homers in 50 career games at the park.
"Obviously, I got to play some baseball games here last year and was able to hit some home runs in a little stretch," Schwarber said after Thursday's performance. "I just find it a good batter's eye."
Schwarber has 18 homers this season and is tied for the National League lead with Pete Alonzo of the New York Mets and Austin Riley of the Atlanta Braves.
Schwarber has three multi-homer games this season and has hit seven homers in June. He is narrowly behind his pace of June 2021 when he walloped 16 homers in just 100 at-bats.
The left fielder had three RBIs in the opener as Philadelphia won for the 12th time in 14 games. The Phillies were floundering badly before Joe Girardi was fired on June 3, but they are 11-2 under interim manager Rob Thomson.
"Winning's fun," Schwarber said. "We're doing a really good job in all facets of the game. We're pitching, playing defense and we're hitting really well. We've just got to keep up the energy and keep the same preparation. We're playing really good baseball right now."
The Nationals are on the opposite side of the spectrum as they have been outscored 41-13 during a five-game losing streak. Overall, Washington has dropped eight of its past 10 games.
Star right fielder Juan Soto (sore right knee) returned from a two-game absence on Thursday and went 0-for-4.
Washington sabotaged itself as an error by second baseman Carlos Hernandez extended the top of the third inning. Philadelphia ended up scoring seven unearned runs in the frame.
"Mental mistakes, the errors, we gave them 30 outs today and we gave them six in one inning," Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. "You can't do that. We got to start catching the ball and playing better heads-up baseball."
In the doubleheader opener, left-hander Ranger Suarez (4-4, 4.40 ERA) will start for the Phillies and right-hander Joan Adon (1-10, 6.95) will return to the majors for Washington.
Suarez, 26, is 0-3 over his last five starts and gave up four runs (two earned) and four hits over 4 1/3 innings on Sunday while losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA in eight appearances (one start) against the Nationals.
Adon, who has never faced Philadelphia, leads the major leagues in losses and is 0-8 over his past nine starts. The 23-year-old was torched for eight runs and seven hits in three-plus innings while losing to the Miami Marlins in his last outing on June 7.
In the nightcap, Philadelphia left-hander Bailey Falter (0-2, 4.20 ERA) will oppose Nationals right-hander Paolo Espino (0-1, 2.08).
Falter will be making his seventh appearance and third start of the season. His last big league appearance was a start against the New York Mets on May 27, when he gave up five runs (two earned) and four hits in three innings while taking the loss.
Falter, 25, is 1-0 in 3 1/3 scoreless innings over three relief appearances against the Nationals.
Espino will be making 22nd appearance and second start for Washington. His first start was Sunday, and he lost to the Milwaukee Brewers while giving up one run and four hits over 3 2/3 innings.
Espino, 35, is 0-1 with a 6.38 ERA in six career outings (three starts) against the Phillies.
--Field Level Media