Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Livan Hernandez (3-2, 3.23) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (3-1, 3.13)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM
Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. -- RHP Jason Marquis (3-0, 2.62) vs. RHP Vance Worley (1-0, 0.00)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM
Thursday, 7:05 p.m. -- LHP John Lannan (2-3, 3.78) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (4-1, 2.14)
TV: MASN Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM
Things are humming along nicely up in Philadelphia, as most expected, to begin the season. The Phillies are 18-9 and tied with the Marlins for first place in the NL East, and they're doing it with pitching, to the surprise of no one.
Their 3.07 team ERA ranks third in the majors (behind only the A's and Padres). Their vaunted rotation has certainly been good (3.30 ERA) but their unheralded bullpen has been even better (2.54 ERA) despite the losses of closer Brad Lidge and replacement Jose Contreras to injuries. Ryan Madson and Antonio Bastardo have each recorded saves in the interim, each posting ERAs of 0.82.
The Nationals do catch a break in this series and get to face rookie right-hander Vance Worley, who has been thrust into the No. 5 starter's role after Joe Blanton went down with an elbow injury. Of course, they'll also have to face Cole Hamels (9-3, 2.73 career vs. Nats) and Roy Halladay (4-0, 0.84 vs. Nats the last two seasons).
Offensively, the Phillies are getting by without Chase Utley and Jayson Werth -- who, oh yeah, makes his return to Citizens Bank Park tonight -- thanks in large part to Placido Polanco (.385 with 19 RBI) and Ryan Howard (six homers, 28 RBI). There are, however, some lineup holes, starting with Raul Ibanez, who is finally showing his age (.154 average, .209 slugging percentage).
WASHINGTON BATTERS VS. PHILADELPHIA PITCHERS
Nats' best vs. Hamels -- Adam LaRoche (4-for-12, 2B, HR, RBI, K), Ian Desmond (4-for-11, 2 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 3 K), Rick Ankiel (2-for-5, 2B, HR, RBI, K), Ivan Rodriguez (3-for-6, 2B, RBI).
Nats' worst vs. Hamels -- Michael Morse (1-for-9, 5 K), Jerry Hairston (2-for-14, 2B, HR, RBI, K), Alex Cora (1-for-4, 2 RBI, K).
Nats' best vs. Worley -- Ian Desmond (1-for-1).
Nats' worst vs. Worley -- Rick Ankiel (0-for-2, K), Danny Espinosa (0-for-1).
Nats' best vs. Halladay -- Ivan Rodriguez (14-for-39, 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 8 K), Matt Stairs (10-for-27, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K), Laynce Nix (3-for-7, 2B, RBI).
Nats' worst vs. Halladay -- Jerry Hairston (2-for-25, 2 BB, 7 K), Alex Cora (3-for-26, HR, 2 RBI, BB, 3 K), Ian Desmond (2-for-12, 2 BB, 4 K).
PHILADELPHIA BATTERS VS. WASHINGTON PITCHERS
Phillies' best vs. Hernandez -- Placido Polanco (19-for-52, 2B, HR, RBI, 3 BB, 4 K), Ben Francisco (4-for-12, HR, 2 RBI), Brian Schneider (3-for-7).
Phillies' worst vs. Hernandez -- Ryan Howard (5-for-27, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 8 K), Jimmy Rollins (14-for-64, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K), Pete Orr (1-for-5, RBI).
Phillies' best vs. Marquis -- Ryan Howard (7-for-19, HR, 4 RBI, 5 BB, 3 K), Carlos Ruiz (3-for-8, BB, K), Wilson Valdez (2-for-2, RBI, BB).
Phillies' worst vs. Marquis -- Brian Schneider (1-for-24, RBI, BB, 5 K), Jimmy Rollins (6-for-41, 2B, 2 RBI, 6 BB, 5 K), Jimmy Rollins (1-for-9, BB, K).
Phillies' best vs. Lannan -- Raul Ibanez (10-for-18, 2B, 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, BB, 4 K), Placido Polanco (5-for-10, 2 RBI, BB), Shane Victorino (9-for-29, 2B, RBI, 3 BB).
Phillies' worst vs. Lannan -- Wilson Valdez (2-for-15, BB, K), Ryan Howard (5-for-29, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, BB, 12 K).