Phillies Begin Home Battle With First Place Nats


After two straight series wins, the Phillies are on a pretty decent roll. Their last two opponents, the Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals, are legitimate playoff contenders, heading down a stretch where every game becomes even more important by the day. That streak will continue, as the Phillies will now stay at home to take on the first place team in the National League East, the Washington Nationals. Matt Williams' squad has the biggest division lead in all of baseball, but still need to win as many games as possible. And with the Phillies having nothing to lose, Washington may get caught letting their guard down. Leading their charge this evening is Tanner Roark, with A.J. Burnett handling the ball for the home team.

The above numbers represent A.J. Burnett's year prior to his outing against the Seattle Mariners last week. Obviously, they are not as pretty as folks would have hoped for before the season began. And, they've gone up since that outing, as Burnett gave up four more walks to along with five earned runs in a near eight inning performance. Thus far in 2014, the sixteen-year veteran has made four starts against the Nationals. Three of them saw him go at least six innings (his most recent was his only career ejection after less than two innings), with two having two or fewer runs allowed. Both of those outings came in Philadelphia, perhaps suggesting good things for Burnett heading into tonight's matchup.

Meanwhile, Tanner Roark has been somewhat of a quiet ace for Washington this season. He ranks in the top ten in the National League with an ERA of just 2.80, and is third on the Nationals pitching staff in WAR, behind only Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg. Roark has only made two starts against the Phillies this season (both in Philadelphia), and they were two completely different starts. Back in early May, Roark went just four innings, in which he surrendered seven hits, a walk, and seven earned runs. Then, back in July, the young hurler rebounded by tossing seven innings of one run ball. 

Game Notes

  • Washington is in the middle of a stretch in which they have won 13 of 14 games, and are one of, if not, the hottest team in baseball. This season, the Nationals are 8-5 against the Phillies, but just 3-3 in Citizens Bank Park.
  • In the most recent four game series between these two teams, Jayson Werth collected just two hits in sixteen trips to the plate. He also recorded five strikeouts in those games. Before that, Werth had two home runs and ten RBIs against his former team.
  • Jimmy Rollins and Cody Asche have some of the better numbers against Tanner Roark this season, collectively recording five hits and a home run. On the other hand, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard have combined for just one hit in nine at bats against Roark, with the one hit being a three-run home run by Howard.

Phillies Lineup

  1. Ben Revere CF
  2. Jimmy Rollins SS
  3. Chase Utley 2B
  4. Ryan Howard 1B
  5. Marlon Byrd RF
  6. Domonic Brown LF
  7. Carlos Ruiz C
  8. Cody Asche 3B
  9. A.J. Burnett P

Nationals Lineup

  1. Denard Span CF
  2. Anthony Rendon 3B
  3. Jayson Werth RF
  4. Adam LaRoche 1B
  5. Ian Desmond SS
  6. Bryce Harper LF
  7. Wilson Ramos C
  8. Danny Espinosa 2B
  9. Tanner Roark P

Andrew Gillen, Managing Editor of