Phillies close home schedule with series against Nationals

Posted by Kevin Durso

Kevin Durso/Philliedelphia

The Phillies have just four home games left before October. Should the Postseason be as good as the Phillies expect it to be, there will be plenty more home games then. A Brewers’ loss last night secured home field advantage for the Postseason, which means that one team will travel to Philadelphia once the regular season ends just over a week from now. Still, the Phillies have four more home dates with their fans.

The Washington Nationals come into town for their final bout with the Phillies this season. They were recently on a tear, winning five straight and six of seven, including a four-game sweep of the Mets, but have since lost two of three to the Marlins. The Nationals are mainly playing potential players for next season, in this roster expansion, but still have former Phillie Jayson Werth, and All-Star quality players in Ryan Zimmerman and Mike Morse, and star rookie Danny Espinosa. The pitching should be much more interesting from both sides.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series.

In Game 1 of tomorrow’s doubleheader, Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.22 ERA) goes against Ross Detwiler (2-5, 3.76 ERA).

Kendrick won his last start, allowing one run over five innings to the Marlins. He started a game against the Nationals this season on Aug. 19, allowing two runs over six innings in the Phillies’ 8-4 loss. Kendrick took a no-decision. In 12 career games (11 starts), Kendrick is 2-3 with a 6.02 ERA against the Nationals.

Detwiler allowed two runs over 5 2/3 innings to the Mets in a no-decision in his last start Sept. 12. Since taking over as a starter for Washington, Detwiler is 1-5, and has yet to throw seven innings. He has yet to face the Phillies this season. In five career games (four starts), Detwiler is 0-3 with a 6.00 ERA against the Phillies.

In Game 2 of the doubleheader, Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.38 ERA) takes on Tom Milone (1-0, 4.60 ERA).

Lee nearly threw his seventh shutout of the season, but allowed a game-tying home run to Jose Lopez of the Marlins one strike away from the win. He settled for a no-decision after allowing one run over nine innings. Lee has faced the Nationals twice this season. On Apr. 14, Lee pitched a three-hit shutout, his first of the season in a 4-0 Phillies’ win. On May 31, Lee was touched for six runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 10-2 Phillies’ loss. In four career starts against the Nationals, Lee is 3-1 with a 2.97 ERA.

Milone won his last start, allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings against the Mets. He has made just three major league appearances, and has yet to face the Phillies.

In the third game, Vance Worley (11-2, 2.85 ERA) faces Brad Peacock (1-0, 1.42 ERA).

Worley allowed one run in six innings in a no-decision against the Cardinals. Worley faced the Nationals once this season. On May 4, Worley allowed one run over six innings in a 7-4 Phillies’ win. In two career games (one start), Worley is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA.

Peacock won his only career start, shutting out the Mets over five innings. He has made one other appearance this season. He has yet to face the Phillies.

In the finale, Roy Oswalt (8-9, 3.66 ERA) gets the start against John Lannan (9-13, 3.68 ERA).

Oswalt was excellent in his last outing, blanking the Cardinals through seven innings of the NL East clinching win. Oswalt has faced the Nationals three times this season. On June 1, he allowed two runs over five innings in the Phillies’ 2-1 loss. On Aug. 13, he allowed three runs over seven innings in an 11-3 Phillies’ win. On Aug. 20, Oswalt pitched eight shutout innings in a 5-0 Phillies’ win. Oswalt was charged with a game started on Aug. 19, a game that was delayed due to rain, and started by Kyle Kendrick following the delay. In 21 career games (18 starts), Oswalt is 7-4 with a 2.95 ERA against the Nationals.

Lannan lost his last start, allowing three runs over six innings to the Marlins. He has faced the Phillies five times this season. On Apr. 13, he allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings of a 3-2 Phillies’ win. On May 5, he lasted just two innings allowing six runs in a 7-3 Phillies’ win. On June 1, he allowed one run, unearned, over 5 1/3 innings in a 2-1 Phillies’ loss. On Aug. 13, he allowed seven runs (one earned) over three innings in an 11-3 Phillies’ win. On Aug. 20, he allowed five runs (three earned) over five innings of a 5-0 Phillies’ win. In 16 career starts against the Phillies, Lannan is 1-12 with a 5.81 ERA.

Prediction:
September 20 (Game 1) – Phillies 4, Nationals 2
September 20 (Game 2) – Phillies 5, Nationals 1
September 21 – Phillies 2, Nationals 4
September 22 – Phillies 7, Nationals 3

The series favors the Phillies, who after dealing with a red hot Cardinals’ team, get a Nationals’ team who, while being successful, has managed to still be not much of a test. They get three pitchers with little experience against them.

Tomorrow’s doubleheader seems to feature two easier games. Detwiler has seen the Phillies before, with little success, so the Phillies hold an edge there. If Kendrick performs like he has in recent starts, especially his gem against Washington earlier this season, the Phils will be on their way to a win. The nightcap should also go the Phillies’ way based on who is on the mound. There really is no stopping Cliff Lee right now, and after being one strike away from another shutout just days earlier, he’ll be determined to throw an even better game.

The third game may be the toughest for the Phillies. Worley, since losing in Milwaukee, has looked vulnerable, and despite holding offenses to limited runs, looks like a few scattered hits could haunt him. The Nationals meanwhile throw a rookie of their own out there, and sometimes that goes against the Phillies. It won’t hurt them the night before, but it could the second time around.

The finale is a simple pick. Track records all over the place here say go with the Phillies. Even after finally getting a win, Lannan just has bad luck against the Phillies. Note all of the unearned runs in those starts. But he also gives up his share of runs against the Phils as well, so expect a better night for the offense.

The Phillies have just six games remaining after this homestand completes. They face the Mets for three in New York, before closing the regular season with three games in Atlanta.