Phillies: 7-2, first in NL East
Nationals: 4-5, third in NL East (three games behind Phillies)
The Phillies offense has been on a roll through nine games this season. Philadelphia leads the National League in batting average (.334), hits (107) and are second in runs scored (59). Seven of the eight starting position players are hitting over .300 in the early portion of the season.
The Phillies need to get more production out of Jimmy Rollins in the third spot. Rollins is hitting .324 with three doubles, but has no RBI this season. He is only 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and must improve the clutch hitting in order for the Phillies to produce runs at the top of the lineup.
Joe Blanton, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee will take the mound for the Phillies in the series. Blanton and Lee look to rebound from their last outings. In his last start against the Mets, Blanton pitched 4.1 innings, allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs in a no-decision. He had a 7-0 lead entering the fourth inning of that game.
Lee was hit hard last Friday against Atlanta. He allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in only 3.1 innings of work. The Phillies' left-handed ace is 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against the Nationals.
Roy Halladay is 8-1 with an ERA of 1.96 in his career versus Washington. In his last start against the Nationals, Halladay pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout as the Phillies clinched their fourth consecutive National League East title.
Washington’s offense was supposed to be much improved with the acquisition of former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth. But that has not been the case. The Nationals are 12th in the National League in runs (36) and last in batting average (.217).
Ryan Zimmerman continues to hit the ball well. Zimmerman is hitting .357 with a home run and four RBI in the early part of the season. However, his high-profile teammates are struggling.
Adam LaRoche is hitting .194 with a home run and three RBI in eight games, while Ivan Rodriguez only has three hits in 17 at-bats through five games.
The Nationals will send Livan Hernandez, John Lannan and Jordan Zimmermann to face the hot Phillies offense. Hernandez is 11-10 with a 3.60 ERA in 27 career starts against the Phillies.
Lannan was the winning pitcher in both his starts this season. In his last outing against the Marlins, Lannan pitched five solid innings, allowed three runs and struck out four.
Jordan Zimmermann has not pitched well in two career starts versus the Phillies. He is 0-1, allowed 10 runs (including three home runs) and has an 11.25 ERA. Zimmermann threw 5.1 innings, allowed two runs and struck out four in a victory over the Mets.
Player To Watch
Shane Victorino is hitting .417 with a home run and eight RBI in the leadoff spot this season. He was 9-for-13 with a double, home run, three RBI and two stolen bases in the Braves series. Victorino has hit .290 with six home runs and 30 RBI in his career versus the Nationals.
Who else on the team but former Phillies star Jayson Werth? In his four years with the Phillies, Werth hit .284 with 95 home runs and 300 RBI, helping the Phillies win four division titles, two National League pennants and a World Series Championship. Werth is batting .200 with a home run and an RBI in nine games for the Nationals.
Probable Pitching Matchups
Tues. 4/12: Joe Blanton PHI (0-0, 14.54) vs. Livan Hernandez WAS (0-1, 4.76)
Wed. 4/13: Roy Halladay PHI (1-0, 0.69) vs. John Lannan WAS (1-0, 3.60)
Thurs. 4/14: Cliff Lee PHI (1-1, 7.84) vs. Jordan Zimmermann WAS (1-1, 3.18)