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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, June 17th (All times eastern)

Washington Nationals (34-34) at Philadelphia Phillies (33-37), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Washington - Dan Haren (4-8, 5.70) Philadelphia - John Lannan (0-1, 6.14)

(Sports Network) - John Lannan makes his first start in two months on Monday when the Philadelphia Phillies welcome the Washington Nationals to Citizens Bank Park to kick off a three-game series.

Lannan was placed on the disabled list with a strained quad tendon in his left knee after being tagged for six runs in less than two innings of an 11-2 loss to the Reds on April 17. Prior to the injury, the left-hander had posted quality starts in his first two outings of the season.

"With the injury, every day you look for something that got better from the day before," Lannan said following a successful rehab start for Double-A Reading on Wednesday. "It felt much better than it did the last time out.

"I've been honest the whole process and I think I'm ready."

In addition to making his first start since coming off the DL, Lannan is also facing his former team for the first time since signing with Philadelphia in the offseason. He spent eight years with the Nationals organization and was the Opening Day starter twice.

Meanwhile, Washington's Dan Haren is still seeking his first win since May 9. The veteran right-hander has gone 0-5 with a 6.29 ERA over his last six starts.

"I feel like I am letting the team down. It's not for a lack of effort, it's not for a lack of work and not for a lack of belief," Haren said. "I believe every time I step on the mound I'm going to win and I have to keep that feeling. I've been good for a long time, this is just a bump in the road."

Haren has never beaten the Phillies in five career starts, and that includes a May 25 outing in which he allowed three runs and struck out a season-high 10 batters in six innings. However, the Phillies went on to win that game, 5-3.

Both teams continue to look up at the Braves in the NL East standings, as Atlanta began the day with a 6 1/2-game cushion over second-place Washington and an 8 1/2-game lead over the Phillies.

Washington dropped two of three at Cleveland over the weekend. The Nats wasted a fine performance from Stephen Strasburg in his return from the DL on Sunday (one hit in five innings) as they lost the series finale, 2-0. After plating five runs or more in five of the team's previous seven games, the offense stranded seven baserunners.

"Eventually, just like everything else in baseball, it will turn around," shortstop Ian Desmond said. "We are not necessarily running out of time, but we need to start taking more steps in the right direction."

The Phillies enter Monday's series opener having lost seven of nine. Much like their counterpart, the offense was unable to get much of anything going in Sunday's 5-2 setback to Colorado. Both of their runs did not come until the ninth inning.

Philadelphia won two out of three when these teams met up last month. They split last year's season series, 9-9.

06/17 10:31:59 ET