National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, August 24th
(All times Eastern)
Washington Nationals (77-47) at Philadelphia Phillies (58-67), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Edwin Jackson (7-8, 3.69)
Philadelphia - Kyle Kendrick (6-9, 4.20)
(Sports Network) - The Washington Nationals have won six straight series since
they last faced the Philadelphia Phillies and extended their lead atop the NL
East by four games.
The Phillies have made their own climb in the standings, but the reigning
five-time division champs are still well out of the playoff race.
The Nats look to further their postseason hopes on Friday and prevent the
Phils from picking up any momentum in the first of three straight contests
between the clubs.
Washington has won five of nine versus Philadelphia this season, but lost two
of three in the most recent meeting from July 31-Aug. 2 in D.C. The Nats left
that set with a 2 1/2-game edge over the Atlanta Braves for first place, but
have won 15 of 20 since to push that advantage to 6 1/2 games.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, was last in the standings following the Washington
series and though it has fallen 19 1/2 games behind the Nats, the Phils hold
sole possession of third place in the NL East for the first time since April
12. They are still 10 1/2 games back of a wild card position.
The Nationals recently took two of three from the Braves, failing to secure a
sweep and a fourth straight win overall by dropping Wednesday's finale 5-1.
"We try to take two of three every time we play," Nationals third baseman Ryan
Zimmerman said. "It was a good job this series, but we have to put it behind
us and go to the next."
Edwin Jackson will need to forget his past against the Phillies, who he tries
to beat for the first time in his career tonight. The right-hander is 0-3 in
three meetings with a 5.60 earned run average, with two of those setbacks
coming this year.
Jackson picked up a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 11 even though
he allowed five runs over 5 2/3 frames. He then had the script flipped on him
Saturday versus the New York Mets, yielding two runs over seven innings and
striking out 11, but suffering a 2-0 setback. Both runs came on a homer in the
The 28-year-old sits 7-8 with a 3.69 ERA this season in 23 starts.
The Phillies earned a split of their four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds
on Thursday, rallying for a 4-3 victory in 11 innings.
Philadelphia nearly wasted another opportunity to win the game after Domonic
Brown grounded into a force out at the plate with the bases loaded in the
11th, but John Mayberry came through with a bouncing single that plated a run
and ended the contest.
"I was trying to get something to the outfield. That was my approach,"
Mayberry said. "I didn't execute it exactly as planned, but I snuck one
Philadelphia tries to make it back-to-back wins on Friday behind Kyle
Kendrick, who has thrown two scoreless outings since getting hit for six runs
over 3 1/3 frames in a start versus the Braves on Aug. 8.
Kendrick, who turns 28 on Sunday, has beaten the Miami Marlins and Milwaukee
Brewers since, scattering eight hits and a walk over 15 innings while striking
out 13. He fanned a career high-tying seven batters in an 8-0 win over the
Brewers on Sunday.
"He did a good job. He got (Milwaukee outfielder Ryan) Braun out and he gets a
medal for that," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel of Kendrick. "That's the
most pitches he's had this year. He's more confident when he's aggressive."
The right-hander is 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA in 29 games this season, including 17
Kendrick is 2-4 in his career against Washington with a 4.93 ERA in 16 games,
all but two of those starts. Two of his three outings against the club this
season have been starts, with Kendrick 0-1 with a 2.19 ERA in the season
08/24 10:43:52 ET