In a key series against their northern rivals, the Washington Nationals (34-34) will try to break out of an offensive funk to prevent the Philadelphia Phillies (33-37) from overtaking them in the standings.
The Phillies trail the Nationals by only two games in the National League East, and could again surpass the Nats into second place with a series sweep. However, the Phillies have not won a series against any team but the Miami Marlins since May 19, and have not completed a sweep against a team that isn’t the Marlins since taking three games from the New York Mets on April 28.
The Nationals won two of three against the Phillies in their first faceoff of the year and went 9-9 against them last year, so they have a history of success backing them up going into this series. But, the Phillies slash line of .250/.307/.397 bests the Nats’ line of .233/.292/.374 in every category as the Nationals continue to be befuddled by their inability to bring home runners the put in scoring position.
Leveling With Lannan
The Nationals will get their first shot at hitting the Phillies 4.25 team ERA on Monday night against none other than former-National John Lannan.
This will be Lannan’s first start since injuring his knee on April 17, as well as his first start against the team he spent eight years with after being drafted by them in 2005. He signed a $2.5 million, one-year deal with the Phillies this offseason, but has made only three starts for them due to his injury.
Lannan does not have very good numbers at his new home ballpark – a career-worst 6.05 ERA in nine starts there – which the Nationals have the opportunity to take advantage of in the series opener at Citizens Bank Park.
Only four current Nationals have faced Lannan before: Jayson Werth, Adam LaRoche, Ross Ohlendorf and Chad Tracy. Werth has the most plate appearances against him, and has gone 8-for-24 with four homers in his career against the lefty.
If the Nationals can make the most of the numbers that are in their favor, perhaps they can start the series off on a good note, despite countering Lannan with Dan Haren, who has a 5.79 ERA in five career starts against the Phillies and six Nationals losses after his last six starts.
In The Zone
Anthony Rendon (2B) .500 AVG, .524 OBP, .800 SLG, 1 HR (last five games)
Ben Revere (CF) .464 AVG, .464 OBP, .536 SLG, 2 SB (last six games)
Ryan Howard (1B) .391 AVG, .481 OBP, .478 SLG, 2 2B (last six games)
Domonic Brown (LF) .136 AVG, .231 OBP, .136 SLG, 4 SO (last six games)
Freddy Galvis (2B) .130 AVG, .200 OBP, .304 SLG, 3 SO (last six games)
6/17, Dan Haren (4-8, 5.70 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 59 SO) vs. John Lannan (0-1, 6.14 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 7 SO, 3 GS)
6/18, Ross Detwiler (2-4, 3.02 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 25 SO) vs. Cliff Lee (8-2, 2.55 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 89 SO)
6/19, Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.40 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 82 SO) vs. Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 3.76 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 56 SO)