Mr.Manuel's Troops Go To Washington

The Phillies are reeling after a very demoralizing series against the Atlanta Braves this weekend. The Phillies starters, the bread and butter of this team so far this season were lit up all weekend long. Also, as predicted Philadelphia's bats were silenced by the dominating starters Atlanta trotted out to the mound in the series. The road doesn't get any easier for the Phillies as they make their first trip to RFK Stadium to take on the Nationals to open the week.

Game one of this series represents the Phillies best chance at finally piecing some consistent offense together this season. Innings eater Cory Lidle (0-2) will be on the mound for Philadelphia, opposed by Zach Day (1-1) for Washington. Neither pitcher is off to the kind of start their organizations would have hoped for entering this season. Day's 5.09 ERA represents the largest earned run average the Phillies will face in this series, representing the best possible scenario for the Phillies offense to come alive. Lidle needs to have a solid outing to help turn the club's fortunes around following the rough weekend in Atlanta.

Arguably the pitcher with the best start in all of Major League Baseball, Jon Lieber (4-0) will make the start for the Phillies on Tuesday. Starting for the Nationals will be John Patterson (1-1). Patterson has been downright unhittable for Washington to start this season, he has notched a .087 ERA and has given up just two runs in his three starts. This game has pitchers duel written all over it. Lieber had great command over the Nationals lineup in the season opener at Citizens Bank Park, and looks to repeat that feat on Tuesday.

In the Rubber match, Brett Myers (1-1) will make his fourth start this season and will be opposed by Esteban Loiza(0-1). Myers really has started out his season strong. Known to sulk after a tough inning or big hit, Myers has done just the opposite this season. In Friday night's game against Atlanta, Myers was cool, calm and collected in the midst of a very tough third inning when he gave up three runs and had runners in scoring position throughout. If the Phillies offense can give Myers some run support, then there is no question that this game will be one to put in the win column.

Prediction:
Just as the opening series was very wild, wacky and unpredictable this three game set will be the same. The Nationals have been one of the better hitting teams in all of baseball to start the season, and the Phillies have been inconsistent at best. Once again, the Phillies starters will be key. Unfortunately for Phillies fans, The Nationals will take two out of three from the Phillies and further distance themselves from Philadelphia in the NL East race.


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