National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, July 31st
(All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (45-57) at Washington Nationals (61-40), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (1-6, 3.95)
Washington - Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 2.76)
(Sports Network) - Rumored to be sellers at Tuesday's trade deadline, the
Philadelphia Phillies may deal starter Cliff Lee before tonight's opener of a
three-game series against the NL East-leading Washington Nationals.
It has been reported the Texas Rangers are interested in re-acquiring Lee to
bolster their run towards another AL West crown, but there has also been
speculation that Lee would remain a Phillie even though the club is battling
through a tumultuous season.
Nonetheless, Lee is slated to make his 18th start of the year and holds just
a 1-6 record with a 3.95 earned run average. The high-priced left-hander is
0-1 in his previous three starts and did not record a decision his last time
out in a 7-6 win over Milwaukee last Tuesday, when he was banged around for
six runs and 12 hits, including four home runs, in seven innings before the
Phils rallied for a win.
Lee, who hasn't won since July 4, is only 1-2 in 10 road assignments this
season and 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA in five career starts against the Nationals.
Lee, however, is not the only player Philadelphia is rumored to be shopping.
Outfielders Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Juan Pierre, and starting
pitcher Joe Blanton could depart the City of Brotherly Love in separate deals
for a club that sits last in the division at 16 1/2 games off the pace. The
Phillies were swept in three games at Atlanta over the weekend following a
four-game winning streak and recently dropped a 6-2 decision on Sunday.
Ace Roy Halladay posted the 2,000th strikeout of his career, but was saddled
with the loss for giving up three runs and six hits in six innings. Victorino
homered and finished with three hits and two runs scored for the Phillies, the
five-time defending NL East champions. Pence had two hits in defeat.
Washington will begin a seven-game homestand tonight and has won two straight
and eight of nine games. The club holds a 3 1/2-game lead over Atlanta in the
NL East and squeezed out an 11-10 win in 11 innings Sunday in the finale of a
four-game series at Milwaukee.
Michael Morse had a two-run double in the top of the 11th inning to put
Washington ahead for good and finished 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI and a
pair of runs scored. Steve Lombardozzi had three hits and also homered, while
Roger Bernadina went deep for the Nationals.
"Every game is the most important game," said Washington manager Davey
Johnson. "I never worry about things. I have no control over it. I have a good
ball club and I expect them to play good. If we play like we're capable of
playing I won't worry about things."
Craig Stammen picked up the win in relief, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings,
and Tyler Clippard notched his 20th save. Gio Gonzalez got the start and
yielded five runs, four of which were earned, in six innings.
Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche left the game in the middle of the fourth
inning with back tightness and is day-to-day. Nats rookie Bryce Harper
overcame a stomach virus and was able to play Sunday.
"I felt like it was kind of going the other direction today," LaRoche told the
club's website. "I felt like the more I stood around in the field and sat on
the bench, the tighter it was getting. Hopefully tomorrow (Monday), having a
day off can get it feeling better."
The Nationals, who will also welcome Miami to town for four games on this
homestand, are scheduled to send young ace Stephen Strasburg to the mound
tonight and he is reportedly on limited innings. Strasburg has tossed 117 1/3
innings this season and is 2-0 in his past three starts since losing three in
a row. He fanned 11 batters and allowed one run in seven innings during a 5-2
victory against the New York Mets on Wednesday, improving to 11-4 in 20 starts
and lowering his ERA to 2.76.
Strasburg, a right-hander, allowed three runs in six innings of a no-decision
versus the Phillies this season and has no record and a 3.48 ERA in two career
starts against them.
Washington has won four of six matchups with Philadelphia in 2012 and is 9-2
in the past 11 meetings between the two ballclubs.
07/31 10:43:28 ET