August 1, 2014

Washington Nationals vs Philadelphia Phillies Series Preview

The Washington Nationals are 7-5 since the All-Star break and return home to kickoff an eight-game homestand with a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Teams

Washington Nationals (58-47, 1st in NL East) vs Philadelphia Phillies (47-61, 5th in NL East)

Schedule

Game 1: Thursday, July 31 @ 7:05 PM EST

Game 2: Friday, August 1 @ 7:05 PM EST

Game 3: Saturday, August 2 @ 7:05 PM EST

Game 4: Sunday, August 3 @ 1:35 PM EST

Probable Pitchers (Season Stats; Career vs Opponent)

Game 1: Gio Gonzalez (6-6, 3.65; 5-3, 2.48) vs Cliff Lee (4-5, 3.78; 6-4, 2.74)

Game 2: Doug Fister (10-2, 2.69; 2-0, 1.20) vs Roberto Hernandez (5-8, 4.14; 2-1, 1.61)

Game 3: Jordan Zimmermann (6-5, 3.17; 5-6, 3.82) vs A.J. Burnett (6-10, 4.15; 10-4, 3.37)

Game 4: Stephen Strasburg (7-9, 3.55; 3-1, 2.41) vs Cole Hamels (6-5, 2.55; 15-6, 2.63)

Players to Watch

Washington:

  • Denard Span: .288 BA, .348 OBP, 29 doubles, 21 RBI, 20 SB
  • Ian Desmond: .250 BA, .433 SLG, 18 doubles, 17 HR, 64 RBI, 10 SB
  • Bryce Harper: .261 BA, 7 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR, 13 RBI
  • Tyler Clippard: 45 IP, 1.80 ERA, 59 K, 11.80 K/9

Philadelphia:

  • Ben Revere: .301 BA, 9 doubles, 5 triples, 12 RBI, 29 SB
  • Marlon Byrd: .270 BA, 22 doubles, 20 HR, 60 RBI
  • Ryan Howard: .223 BA, 16 HR, 63 RBI, 11 doubles
  • Chase Utley: .289 BA, .355 OBP, 26 doubles, 3 triples, 9 HR, 54 RBI

Notables on the Injury Report

Washington: 

Ryan Zimmerman is on the 15-day DL with a hamstring strain. There is currently no timetable for a return and Bill Ladson of MLB.com reported that it could possibly be a Grade 3 strain (the worst kind). Jayson Werth is listed as day-to-day after spraining his right ankle agains the Miami Marlins. He played Wednesday and went 1-for-3 with an RBI.

Philadelphia:

Marlon Byrd is currently listed as day-to-day on the injury report for a foot injury. However, he did play on Wednesday and you can expect him to play on Thursday. Relief pitcher Matt Adams is on the 60-day DL for a shoulder injury. With a 2.12 ERA, that’s a significant blow to the bullpen.

Series Notes

This year, the Nationals are 6-3 against the Phillies and have gone 5-1 since dropping 2-of-3 in Philadelphia this May. The last time these two faced off in Washington, the Nationals completed a three-game sweep in June behind Zimmermann, Strasburg and Fister.

Against his former team, Jayson Werth is batting .292 with a .486 on-base percentage. He’s hit seven doubles, a triple, 11 homers and 43 RBI against the Phillies. Two of those 11 homers and 10 of those 43 RBI have come in nine games this season.

In 12 games since the All-Star break, the Nationals have gone 7-5. Last year, the Nationals went 4-8 over that same span. When you consider the hot streak that they ended the season on, this is an encouraging sign that they’re beginning the proverbial second-half of the season well.

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Brian Skinnell is a sports writer born and raised in the Washington, D.C.-metro area and covers the Washington Nationals, Wizards and MiLB for District Sports Page. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+!

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Before the runs came late, Jordan Zimmermann was the story of the game.

The stoic Wisconsin right-hander, a two-time All-Star, commanded his fastball and dominated the Miami Marlins over seven innings, leading the Washington Nationals to a 6-0 lead into the late innings in Marlins Park in Miami.

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Zimmermann allowed two earned runs — both in the seven inning — on four hits and one walk, striking out six along the way. He left with the Nats leading comfortably at 6-2. [Read more...]

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NATS OVERCOME SORIANO’S BLOWN SAVE TO TOP BREWERS

Jayson Werth hit a walk-off RBI double in the ninth inning to lift the Washington Nationals to a 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Nationals Park Sunday afternoon, taking two of three from the Brewers to start the second half of the MLB season on a high note.

The Nats persevered despite a rocky start from Gio Gonzalez, who lasted just 3 ⅓ innings and, in that time, allowed three runs on four hits and tossed 88 pitches.

Washington got off to an early lead in the bottom of the second after Adam LaRoche singled on a grounder to left and, with one out, Bryce Harper singled, advancing LaRoche to third. As the third time’s the charm, Ian Desmond singled home LaRoche to make it 1-0 Nationals.

But Sunday was never meant to be a shining day for Gonzalez, it seemed.

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Brewers starter Matt Garza (L, 6-7) lasted just a third of an inning, marking his shortest Major League start.

Denard Span kicked off the Nats five-run first inning with a lead-off single. Of all batters to retire, Matt Garza was able to force Anthony Rendon to strike out swinging. It would be Garza’s only out of the day, as Jayson Werth doubled deep to right, Adam LaRoche walked and Ryan Zimmerman singled home Span and Werth.

From there, Harper walked, Ian Desmond reached first on an infield single and Ramos singled home Zimmerman and Harper before Marco Estrada relieved Garza.

Perhaps eased by his five-run lead, Nats starter Tanner Roark handed back a run in the second by way of a Jonathan Lucroy double and stolen base. On the play, Ramos committed a throwing error that allowed Lucroy to come home to make it 5-1 Nationals.

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Doug Fister was sharp on an extra day of rest, allowing two runs on seven hits through seven innings pitched to earn his eighth win of the season.

Baltimore right-hander Bud Norris had no such luck, stretching just four innings to allow five runs on six hits and a walk.

The Nats did damage early. With one out in the first, Anthony Rendon hit a ground-rule double, aided by fan interference. Then, Jayson Werth doubled Rendon home before Adam LaRoche singled in Werth to give Washington a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles earned one back in the bottom of the inning after Steve Pearce and Nelson Cruz walked and Chris Davis hit an RBI single.

With a swing of the bat in the top of the second, Wilson Ramos erased the Orioles’ progress on a solo shot to left to make it 3-1 Nationals.

Baltimore threatened in the bottom of the third after Fister lost control of a 74 MPH curveball that tailed into Nick Markakis. Fister left Pearce chasing a sub-90 fastball before Adam Jones singled to give the Orioles runners on first and second.

Fortunately for the Nats, Cruz managed just a soft grounder to second to advance the runners a base, but Chris Davis popped out to end the inning without a run scored.

In the top of the fourth, the Nationals recorded their second of three homers on the night – a solo shot by Ian Desmond to right center.

Machado voiced his disdain in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot of his own, but the Nats remained in front by two runs.

In the top of the fifth, they expanded it to three after Danny Espinosa walked and Span singled.

The Orioles called on Brad Brach to relieve Norris, but he first allowed a walk to Werth and a sacrifice fly to LaRoche before pitching out of the inning.

The Nats’ third and final homer of the night came in the seventh when Werth shot a first-pitch splitter over the left-field wall to make it 6-2.

Baltimore did little to catch their Beltway rivals – Fister pitched a 1-2-3 seventh to end his stint before Drew Storen and Ross Detwiler tossed a 1-2-3 eighth and ninth, respectively.

With the win, the Nationals find themselves in first place in the NL East with a 49-40 record.

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