The Phillies are an unexplainable team most of the time. They will win a game here and there than lose five straight – win a game – then lose five more – and then they will come out of no where and sweep a division leader in a four-game set. It is crazy to think what has gotten into these guys the past four games as they are coming off of a four-game winning streak that started on Monday. Today the Phillies, who are now 10 games under .500, will open up a three-game series against the Washington Nationals before headed to the All-Star break next week.
On the hill for Philadelphia will be A.J. Burnett (5-8, 3.92 ERA), who will look for his first win since June 20th. The Nationals will send out Jordan Zimmermann (6-4, 2.79 ERA) to be Burnett's counterpart in game one tonight. As the Phillies look to take it to another first place team in Washington, the Nats will look to gain ground on the Braves in the division.
A.J. Burnett is coming off of a loss Sunday against Pittsburgh. The veteran righty tossed seven innings of three run ball. Allowing five hits that came along with two walks and seven strike outs, Burnett took the loss as the Phils were swept by the Pirates. Burnett is going to be a hot topic in the next few weeks as he could be a potential addition for a contender in need of a starting pitcher to balance out their rotation. In his last three starts, Burnett is 0-2 and has allowed 9 runs over that 20-inning stretch. In his career against Washington, including an eight-run outing against them back on June 6th, Burnett is 9-4 with a 3.43 ERA.
Jodan Zimmermann has become somewhat of an ace for the Nationals over the past two years and his all-star first half this year has only made it a better fit. In Zimmermann's last start, a no-decision against the Cubs, the righty tossed six scoreless innings accompanied by five strike outs and one walk. Over his last 10 starts, Zimmermann has a 2.28 ERA (17 ER in 67 IP) and has 54 strike outs against 12 walks over that stretch. Since May 27th, Zimmermann has dropped his season ERA from 4.07 to 2.79. Back on June 3, the Phillies mustered just five hits over eight scoreless innings against Zimmermann. In his career against the Phils, he is 5-5 with a 3.48 ERA.
First Pitch: 7:05 PM ETLocation: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PAWeather: 84° – Sunny – 10% PrecipTV: CSN
Erik Seybold is a writer for Philliedelphia.com. Follow him on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.