Phillies vs. Nationals preview

Posted: August 21, 2010

7:05, Citizens Bank Park. TV: Comcast SportsNet. Radio: WPHT (1210-AM); WUBA (1480-AM) Spanish.

Tonight's pitchers

Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg (5-2, 2.97) vs. Phillies RHP Kyle Kendrick (8-5, 4.45)

Three matchups to watch

Stephen Strasburg vs. Phillies hitters: The heralded rookie makes his first career start against the Phillies and even Charlie Manuel is looking forward to it. "I'm excited to see him pitch, but I don't want him to beat us," the Phillies manager said.

Kyle Kendrick vs. Nationals hitters: Tonight's starter has pitched twice against the last-place Nationals this season and it hasn't gone well. He has an ERA of 17.47 in those games. In his start against them at Citizens Bank Park he lasted just 1 2/3 innings while allowing six earned runs. Take away those games and his ERA for the season drops from 4.45 to 3.89.

Nationals vs. Phillies: The Expos/Nationals franchise has won just two season series against the Phillies in the last 14 years: 10-9 in 2006 and 11-8 in 2002. The Nats are 5-5 against the Phils this season.

Who's hot

Phillies bullpen: The relievers have a streak of 15 consecutive scoreless innings pitched. In the last eight games the combined ERA is 0.93 with two walks and 23 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.

Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond: The rookie was 29-for-78 (.372) in his last 23 games after hitting a pair of singles and a double last night.

Who's not

Phillies pinch-hitter Ross Gload: Since suffering a strained groin while doubling vs. the Dodgers on Aug. 11, he is hitless in five at-bats. Overall as a pinch-hitter he is 12-for-52 (.231) compared to 19-for-54 (.352) in 15 starts.

Nationals first baseman Adam Dunn: Second in the NL in homers (31), but is in a 6-for-43 (.140) slump in his last 12 games.

Upcoming probables

Tomorrow vs. Washington: Nationals LHP Scott Olsen (3-5, 5.14) vs. Phillies RHP Roy Oswalt (8-13, 3.36)

Monday vs. Houston: Astros RHP Brett Myers (8-7, 3.11) vs. Phillies RHP Joe Blanton (5-6, 5.54)

Tuesday vs. Houston: Astros RHP Bud Norris (6-7, 5.23) vs. Phillies LHP Cole Hamels (7-10, 3.51)

Tickets

Tonight's game is sold out. Standing-room only tickets will go on sale 4 hours before the first pitch. There are limited seats available for tomorrow's game.

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