(Sports Network) - It's not time to break out the defibrillator yet on the
Washington Nationals, as they carry a six-game winning streak into Friday's
opener of a three-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
A heavy favorite to win the NL East and possibly reach the World Series, the
Nationals have had their share of bumps and bruises throughout the season and
find themselves 5 1/2 games out of the wild card race.
The Nationals completed a four-game sweep of the New York Mets with Thursday's
7-2 win, as starting pitcher Tanner Roark remained unbeaten at 6-0 with six
innings of two-run ball. Roark was backed by home runs from Ryan Zimmerman,
Adam LaRoche, Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon.
Zimmerman homered for the second consecutive game and has gone deep eight
times in 11 games during the month of September. Denard Span doubled and
scored a run in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 23 games.
"Span is the catalyst," Washington manager Davey Johnson said. "Your leadoff
guys are always the catalyst."
Washington, winners in nine of 11 contests, will begin a 10-game homestand
Friday versus Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami. The club will send Stephen
Strasburg to the mound in the opener with the Phillies and he is 2-0 over his
last seven starts. The Nats are 5-2 in that time and recorded a 6-4 win at
Miami in Strasburg's last start on Sunday, when he lasted six innings and gave
up four runs and four hits.
Strasburg is 7-9 with a 2.96 earned run average in 28 starts and 5-4 in 14
appearances at Nationals Park. In six career starts against the Phillies, the
right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA.
The Phillies will try to play spoiler Friday and went 6-3 on a recent
homestand. They finished off the San Diego Padres with Thursday's 10-5 victory
to take the three-game set and had a 14-4 hit advantage.
Carlos Ruiz had three hits and three RBI, Cesar Hernandez went 3-for-4 with
two runs batted in and two runs scored and Chase Utley knocked in a pair of
runs for the Phillies.
"Big offensive night," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.
Jimmy Rollins went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored and is nearing a
milestone. Rollins is a home run shy of becoming the 10th player in major
league history with 200 homers and 400 stolen bases. The other players to
achieve the feat are Rickey Henderson, Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, Paul
Molitor, Joe Morgan, Johnny Damon, Roberto Alomar, Marquis Grissom and Bobby
Roy Halladay started the game for the Phils and struggled, lasting just 4 1/3
innings and allowing five runs -- four earned -- on four hits and five walks.
Justin De Fratus got the win for getting the final two outs of the fifth
Kyle Kendrick draws the start for the Phillies Friday night and has struggled
in his last nine starts. He is 1-6 with a 6.08 earned run average in that time
and did not factor in the outcome of a 6-5 win over Atlanta on Saturday, as he
permitted three runs in six innings, struck out eight and walked three.
Kendrick is 1-2 in four starts against Washington this season and 5-7 with a
4.56 ERA in 23 career meetings (21 starts) with the Nationals.
The Phillies trail the season series with the Nats by a 9-7 count and have
lost two straight and five of the past six matchups between the clubs.
The Sports Network