The Phillidelphia Phillies (25-20) welcome the Washington Nationals (13-33) for a three game home stretch as they try and regain first place in the National League East.
It has been a three-year continual battle between the New York Mets (26-20) and the Phillies for first place in the division, usually causing a dramatic showdown late into the waning days of the season. It seems that in each case the Washington Nationals have played their own little role in this cat and mouse game, and it will be no different this week as the Nats are coming off a sweep by the Mets which catapulted them back into first place. The Phillies are looking for the same Nationals bump.
The Phillies come into the series coming off a very poor showing against the Florida Marlins (22-26), which saw them drop two of three. The club couldn’t convert with runners in scoring position (3 for 23 on the series) and had struggles with the bullpen. The fighting Phil’s wont fret however knowing that they’re going to face their favorite team in the league this weekend.
In the two clubs last meeting the Phillies hitting problems seemed to dissipate, as the team batted .327 while scoring 33 runs in only three games. In general the top of the Phillies line up has succeeded against the Nationals all year. Shane Victorino is batting .297 with eight runs and seven RBI, Chase Utley is batting .380 with 11 runs and six RBI, and even Jimmy Rollins who up until a few weeks ago was batting below .200 is hitting .350 with seven runs scored against the Nationals in 2009.
Pitching Match Ups
Friday, May 29
Ross Detwiler, LHP (0-0, 2.45) vs. J.A Happ, LHP (2-0, 2.60)
Detwiler has made his two first career starts quality ones. In his first start against Pittsburgh he recorded five strong innings with six strikeouts and no walks, he allowed two earned runs. In his second start against Baltimore he only allowed one hit through six innings, but he did walk four batters while striking out four. Everyone always knew Detwiler had the stuff to be a major league standout, but whether or not he has the head on his shoulders to not self-destruct is still in question. He will be facing J.A Happ who has just recently joined the rotation against the Yankees, allowing just four hits and two runs in six innings. This is his first career start against the Nationals, but he has pitched seven scorless innings in the bullpen against them.
Saturday, May 30
Shairon Martis,RHP (5-0, 4.86) vs. Cole Hamels, LHP (2-2, 4.68)
Martis is still struggling to find consistency. When he is on he throws strikes and is hard to hit, when he struggles he cant find the strike zone and his fastball gets slapped around. He is coming off one of his more difficult outings this season. Hamles is the reigning World Series MVP who is not having quite the season he had hoped to back up his charming 2008. His last outing was much more promising however, as he allowed only two earned runs in six innings against the Yankees. He is 2-0 in his last five starts with a 2.45 ERA, a sign he is turning things around.
Sunday, May 31
John Lannan, LHP (2-4, 4.11) vs. Jamie Moyer, LHP (3-5, 7.42)
John Lannan may want to take a deep look in to Jamie Moyer’s soul when the two go head to head this Sunday. They may very well be kindred spirits, and if Lannan is lucky, he may see his future in the 46-year-old starter. Lannan is very similar to a young Moyer, both use control, a solid curveball, and a little bit of smarts to get the outs that more athletic pitchers may be able to get with their skill. For these two, finesse is the name of the game.