Thursday, May 23, 2013

Series Preview: Phillies vs Nationals

Our Phils head to D.C. this weekend to take on the division rival Nationals. After two straight series wins over the Reds and Marlins, the Phillies look to continue their success and possibly pass the Nationals in the NL East. Heading into the 3 game series the Phillies (23-24) sit one game back of the 2nd place Nationals (24-23). The Nationals have been struggling lately, posting a record of 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Phillies have played well lately going 7-3.

Friday's game - Kyle Kendrick (4-2, 2.82 ERA) vs Jordan Zimmerman (7-2, 1.62 ERA).
The Phils face one of the best pitchers in the game against Jordan Zimmerman. The Nationals ace has the 3rd lowest ERA in the bigs and looks to continue his dominance on Friday. While it may look like a pitcher's duel, the two offenses could surprise you. Both pitchers have struggled against their opponent; Kendrick is 4-5 with a 4.68 ERA in his career against the Nats while Zimmerman is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA against the Phillies.

Saturday's game - Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.00 ERA) vs Dan Haren (4-5, 5.54 ERA)
Pettibone has been a pleasant surprise this year for the Phils. After taking John Lannan's spot in the rotation he has been very consistant and always keeps the Phillies in games. Washington's starter, Haren, has been a disappointing free agent signing to this point for the Nats. Haren is 0-3 vs the Phillies his career and look for Delmon Young to have a big game. Young is 6 for 12 lifetime against Haren.

Sunday's game - Cole Hamels (1-7, 4.45 ERA) vs Stephen Strasburg (2-5, 2.66 ERA)
An intriguing pitching matchup to finish the series as the teams two "aces" take the mound. Hamels and Strasburg were supposed to be their teams best pitcher, but both come into the game with losing records. While Strasburg has pitched extremely well in his last 3 starts (1-1, 0.90 ERA), Hamels has lost 4 straight starts. Still, Hamels has dominated the Nationals throughout his career and look for him to get back on track Sunday.

Prediction - Zimmerman leads the Nationals to a 5-2 victory on Friday, but the Phillies come back to win on Saturday as they get the best of Haren in a 7-3 win. In the rubber match, Hamels outduels Strasburg and Papelbon closes out the 3-2 win, giving the Phillies the series.

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