The Philadelphia Phillies (45-57) and Washington Nationals (61-40) will open up a three-game National League East series on Tuesday night at Nationals Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET
Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
Philadelphia is well on its way to finishing below .500 for the first time since 2002, while sitting 16.5 games back in the division race behind tonight’s opponent. “I think where we’re at speaks for itself,” commented Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. The Phillies starting rotation hasn’t lived up to its lofty expectations, compiling a 4.07 ERA this year, which ranks 15th in the majors. The club has lost 13 of 17 in this series, while going 7-14 as a road underdog of +125 to +150 the last two-plus years overall.
Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee (1-6, 3.95 ERA) didn’t earn a decision in a 7-6 home win over the Milwaukee Brewers in his last effort, allowing six runs and 12 hits over seven frames. The left-hander is 1-2 with a 3.54 ERA in 10 road outings, issuing 15 walks and striking out 56 batters in 68.2 frames. In five career starts versus the Nationals, Lee has compiled a 3-2 record and 2.89 ERA.
Washington enjoyed a day off after completing a successful 6-1 road trip, pushing its lead to four games in the NL East standings over the Atlanta Braves. “We came in thinking we should win quite a few ball games, and we did that,” commented Nationals reliever Ryan Mattheus. Nationals shortstop Danny Espinosa figures to lead the offensive charge, batting .315 since the All-Star break, while going 7 for 10 in his carer against Lee. Washington is 15-10 at home when the total is 7 or less.
Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 2.76 ERA) has watched the club alternate wins and losses over his last four outings, coming off a 5-2 road win over the New York Mets, allowing one run and four hits over seven frames. The right-hander is 4-2 with a 3.10 ERA in nine home outings, surrendering seven home runs in 52.1 combined frames. Strasburg has yet to earn a decision against the Phillies in two career outings, giving up four runs and five hits over 10.1 innings.
Sports bettors will likely play the total, as the OVER is 11-5 in Strasburg’s last 16 starts as a home favorite.