National League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, May 21st (All times Eastern)
Washington Nationals (24-17) at Philadelphia Phillies (21-21), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Gio Gonzalez (5-1, 2.22) Philadelphia - Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 5.96)
(Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals will try to avoid looking ahead to Wednesday's showdown with Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels when they start a three-game series in south Philadelphia tonight.
Hamels added more fuel to this rivalry when he intentionally plunked Nationals young phenom Bryce Harper in the back on May 6. Hamels, who was suspended five games for the beaning, is scheduled to take the mound in the series finale.
The Nationals will start up a nine-game road trip against NL East foes in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Miami, and halted a three-game slide with Sunday's 9-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a three-game series. Danny Espinosa, Jesus Flores and starting pitcher Stephen Strasburg all homered, while Harper went 2-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI for Washington, which is 1 1/2 games behind the Braves for the NL East lead.
"He launches about 10 a day when he takes batting practice," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of Strasburg's home run.
Strasburg allowed three runs -- one earned -- on four hits and a walk while fanning eight in five innings for the win. Tom Gorzelanny, Tyler Clippard and Ryan Mattheus combined for four shutout innings of relief.
Gio Gonzalez has been pitching well lately for the Nationals and will take the mound this evening. The lefty has won three straight starts and defeated Pittsburgh his last time out in a 7-4 win last Wednesday, as he gave up three runs in seven innings and struck out a season-high 10 batters.
Gonzalez, who is 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA over eight starts in his first season with the Nationals, faced the Phillies for the first time in his career during a 7-1 win back on May 5 this season. He struck out seven batters through seven innings of one-run ball.
Philadelphia has lost two in a row since ripping off a season-best six-game winning streak, and lost the last two portions of a three-game series versus the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.
The Phillies suffered a 5-1 loss on Sunday and starter Cliff Lee remained winless (0-2) on the season after he allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings. The Phillies fell to 1-5 in Lee's starts this season and have scored just nine runs over the left-hander's 44 innings pitched.
Juan Pierre was credited with the lone RBI and Hunter Pence finished with a team-best two hits.
"We couldn't get any runs or big hits to drive them in," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Kyle Kendrick gets the nod for the Phillies tonight and is 0-3 with a 5.96 ERA in nine games (4 starts) this season. Kendrick threw six innings in his last start in a 9-2 win at the Chicago Cubs and allowed two runs -- one earned.
The right-hander did not record a decision on May 4 in a 4-3 loss at Washington and threw five innings of one-run ball. Kendrick is 2-3 with a 5.19 ERA in 14 career games (13 starts) against the Nationals.
Philadelphia lost two of three in D.C. from May 4-6 and is winless in seven of the past eight matchups between the clubs.
05/21 10:51:47 ET