By: Greg Frank
The Phillies came home from a
10-game road trip, took two out of three from the NL West leading Arizona
Diamondbacks, and with Thursday night’s win became the first team in Major
League Baseball to reach 80 wins. Now,
before heading back home for a 6-game home stand, the Phillies will play their
first three games of a nine game stretch against the NL East. It starts in our nation’s capital Friday as
the Phillies look to improve upon their record of 7-3 in their last 10
games. The Nationals are coming off of a
series win against Cincinnati and another win against the Phillies in one of
the two games last weekend in Philadelphia.
While they’re 4 games under .500 and in no position to make a run at the
postseason, most of the time the Nationals give the Phillies a good game. We’ll see if that continues this weekend.
off of his 1st win since returning to the team from his injury, Roy
Oswalt will head to the mound in Washington Friday night. In that win against the Nationals last
Saturday night, Oswalt allowed three earned runs in seven innings of work while
giving up six hits, striking out five, and only walking one batter. Fortunately he received plenty of run support
in the 11-3 win and did not go home a hard luck loser like he did in his first
start off the DL when the Phillies dropped one to Tim Lincecum and the Giants
3-1. Livan Hernandez will go for the
Nats and he, like Oswalt won his last start.
It just so happens that his last start was against the Phillies in which
he allowed only one unearned run,
surrendered only four hits, walked just one batter, and struck out three. The Phillies added a run in the 9th
but it wasn’t enough as Hernandez and the Nats won 4-2. Hernandez has been up and down all year as he
allowed nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits in his start in Colorado on
August 6th, prior to beating the Phillies, so, it will be a case of which Hernandez
shows up Friday night at Nationals Park.
Saturday night has Kyle Kendrick
slated to go for the Phillies in place of Cole Hamels who has a case of
shoulder inflammation, and though he may not be headed for the DL, he gets the
night off Saturday. In stints as a
starter and as a reliever Kendrick has put together a respectable 7-5 record
with a 3.25 ERA. For Washington, they
send Jon Lannan to the hill in the middle game of the series. Lannan’s 8-8 record and 3.55 ERA may not look
too bad, but he’s facing the Phillies, who he is a pitiful 1-11 against. One of those 11 losses came last Saturday
night in Philadelphia when Lannan opposed Roy Oswalt. Lannan was the victim of weak defense, as a
couple of Washington errors led to him leaving the game after three innings and
despite allowing seven runs, only one was earned due to the large majority of
mistakes made by the fielders behind him.
It is worth noting that his one career win against the Phillies did come
this year on June 1st back down in Washington. It’s also worth pointing out that Lannan has
an ERA of 2.86 at home and almost a run and a half higher on the road of
4.26. Maybe Nationals Park will prove to
be Home Sweet Home for Lannan like it did on June 1st.
Sunday’s finale has Roy Halladay on the hill for the Phillies. Halladay is 11-1 lifetime against the
Nationals, ironically the reverse of Lannan’s record against the Phillies. Halladay’s numbers speak for themselves so
there’s not a whole lot else to say here.
The Nationals have former Yankee Chien-Ming Wang on the hill Sunday, who
is 2-0 in his last two starts and his ERA went from 6.00 before those two wins,
to a respectable 4.22 now.
first game of the Arizona series the Phillies’ bats were quiet aside from a
Shane Victorino 2-run home run. It
looked as if that would be enough until Lyle Overbay connected for a 2-run
double off Halladay in the 9th.
The Phillies failed to score in the bottom half and lost a head
scratcher 3-2. However, they came back
the next two nights to outscore Arizona 13-3 and win the series. A notable for the Phillies offensively this
weekend is Ryan Howard, who currently sits at 95 RBI. Five RBIs in this weekend series would give
baseball’s league leader in RBI’s as of 8/19/11, his 6th consecutive
season in which he’s driven in 100 or more.
Washington scored just 10 runs in three games against Cincinnati though
it proved to be enough to win the series.
Rookie of the Year candidate Danny Espinosa had two hits in the series
finale Thursday night, and former Phillie Jayson Werth joined him with two hits
of his own Thursday. However, it was the
2-run single by former Red Johnny Gomes that proved to be the difference. All of these players have shown flashes of
brilliance and times and that’s not to take anything away from Michael Morse
who is hitting .319 on the year with 21 homers and 71 RBIs, a career year for
the first basemen. These are all some of
the pieces to the puzzle in Washington that look to be staying around in D.C.
for a little while.
Tuesday night was a tough loss, the Phillies proved why they are baseball’s
best in rallying to win a series. They
haven’t had a long losing streak all season and having said that it’s hard to
see one starting anytime soon. Washington
may have beaten them last weekend but the Phillies are still way above .500
against the Nationals this year and playing behind all the Phillies fans that
always make the trip to D.C, (myself included as I will be in attendance
Sunday) must be encouraging. Hopefully
the Phillies send them all back to the Delaware Valley with smiles on their
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