Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Series Preview vs. Nats

Phillies fans have had this date on the calendar circled for months. So has Jayson Werth.

The Phillies will visit the Washington Nationals tonight and get their first look at Werth in a Nats' jersey. There are sure to be tons of Phillies fans invading the stadium; and he's likely to get mostly cheers from fans of both teams.

Werth is off to a slow start this season, hitting just .200 with one homer, one RBI, three doubles, seven walks and seven strikeouts. He's certain to have extra incentive at the plate these next few days. Here's a look at the match-ups:

Tonight- Joe Blanton (0-0 14.54 ERA) vs Livan Hernandez (0-1 4.76 ERA)
Blanton was cruising in his first start of the season against the Mets last Wednesday with a 7-0 lead in the fifth. The wheels quickly fell off the track as Blanton failed to make it through the fifth, allowing seven runs on ten hits, two walks and one home run in 4.1 innings. Big Joe is typically a slower starter, but needs a big bounce back start tonight.

Hernandez was on the mound for Washington on Opening Day in a loss to Atlanta. He pitched 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and no walks. He was the tough luck loser in that game. In his other start against the Marlins on the sixth, he lasted five innings, surrendering four runs on six hits and five walks with one strikeout. Hernandez was fortunate to receive a no decision and is also looking to rebound tonight.

Wednesday- Roy Halladay (1-0 0.69) vs. John Lannan (1-0 3.60)

Halladay picked up right where he left off during his Cy Young award winning season in 2010. He cruised through seven scoreless innings in an 11-0 victory over the Mets in his last start. He's allowed just one run through 13 innings.

Lannan has seen plenty of the Phillies during his young career, and that's been a good thing for the Fightins'. Lannan is 0-8 in his career against Philadelphia with a 6.09 ERA. Lannan has been decent so far in 2011. He beat the Braves on the 2nd, allowing one run and five hits in five innings pitched. He also lasted just five innings against the Marlins, allowing three runs on seven hits in a no decision. He's aiming to beat the Phils for the first time in his career.

Thursday- Cliff Lee (1-1 7.84) vs. Jordan Zimmerman (1-1 3.18)

Lee delighted Phillies fans in his second debut with the Phils, striking out eleven Astros over seven strong innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, with no walks. His last start against the Braves was terrible; he lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing six runs on ten hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Lee will be the second Phillies' pitcher in this series seeking redemption.

Zimmerman has pitched well for the Nats this season. He took the loss on April 3rd against the Braves, giving up just three runs (two earned) on four hits through six strong innings. He beat the Mets on the 8th, allowing two runs on six hits through 5.1 innings.

The Phillies will look to continue an important trend they've started early in 2011: winning the series. They have two series victories over division opponents, and a sweep against one of the cellar dwellers in the National League. Another inner-division road series victory would be a nice way to return home to face the Marlins this weekend.

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