Stephen Strasburg: Washington Nationals SP Faces the Philadelphia Phillies in Series Opener

The Philadelphia Phillies (13-13) and Washington Nationals (16-9) will open up a three-game National League East series on Friday night at Nationals Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 ET

Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals

Washington Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg was just named the National League's Pitcher of the Month for April

Philadelphia opened up its six-game road trip by winning two of three in Atlanta, including a 4-0 victory on Thursday afternoon.  The Phillies have managed to go “under” the total in five of their last seven contests.  It was an important victory, moving the club’s record back to .500, with the offense managing to average 5.4 runs in winning six of the last nine games overall.  Philadelphia is 11-8 versus right-handed starters and the “over” is 11-8 in that situation.

Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 6.59 ERA) is set to make his seventh appearance (third start) of the 2012 campaign, as he looks to snap a two-game losing streak, which includes a 5-1 home loss to the Chicago Cubs last time out.  The right-hander allowed three runs (two earned) and five hits over six frames in that effort.  In 13 lifetime outings (12 starts) versus the Nationals, Kendrick has tallied a 2-3 record and 5.46 ERA, including an even 1-1 mark and 6.53 ERA in four starts at this venue.

Washington captured its home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks by winning two of the last three games, including a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.  Rookie outfielder Bryce Harper continues to be the talk of the clubhouse, who came into the contest hitting .385 (5-for-13) on the season.  The Nationals finished with a 10-8 record against the Phillies in 2011, winning nine of the final 11 meetings.  Washington is 4-1 against divisional foes this year and the “under” is 4-1 in those contests.

Nationals starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 1.12 ERA) has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his first five starts, as he was recently named NL Pitcher of the Month for April.  The right-hander has issued just six walks and struck out 34 in 32 innings of work this season, while opponents have failed to hit a home run.  Strasburg has made just a single start against the Phillies, leading the club to a 8-1 victory on Aug. 21, 2010, going 4.1 innings and allowing a single run on two hits.

Bettors will likely back the Nationals due to their 10-2 record as a home favorite, while the Phillies are 1-4 in Kendrick’s last five starts as an underdog.

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