Nats aim to snap skid in opener with Phillies
The Washington Nationals hope to stop a four-game slide when they take on another NL East foe Friday in the opener of a three-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Nationals suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the division-leading Atlanta Braves and dropped a 6-3 decision Wednesday. Jayson Werth was the lone bright spot of the Nats' offense, finishing 2-for-3 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Werth was the only National with multiple hits.
"It's been a tough season all around but we're going to do what we know how to do and that's come out here on Friday and do our best to win," Werth said.
Ryan Mattheus was dealt the loss for giving up two runs and Jordan Zimmermann tossed the first four innings, giving up two runs and seven hits.
Washington is nine games out in the wild card race.
Nationals starter Dan Haren was reportedly placed on revocable trade waivers, but is scheduled to pitch Friday night. Haren has won his last two starts and fired seven shutout innings in Saturday's 3-0 win at Milwaukee.
The right-handed Haren is 6-11 in 20 starts with a 5.14 earned run average and has never beaten the Phillies in his career, going 0-4 with a 5.54 ERA in seven starts.
The Nationals are hoping Haren can cool off the recent hot bats of the Phillies, who just won two of three games versus the Chicago Cubs and outscored them by a 23-14 margin.
Philadelphia posted a 12-1 win on Thursday afternoon and received home runs from John McDonald, Darin Ruf and Cody Asche. Asche had three hits, while Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley ended with two hits, two runs scored and an RBI apiece for the Phillies.
"We got 14 hits today, and we hit some homers and we hit a lot of balls good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "It might have been the best we hit all year."
Ethan Martin allowed a run on four hits and three walks over five frames to notch his first career win.
Utley, meanwhile, agreed to a contract extension through the 2015 season. No financial terms were revealed, but the new pact includes three vesting/club options.
"Chase epitomizes everything we expect our Phillies to be," said general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. "As we've said before, we see Chase as a true Phillie for life. This contract moves us toward that end. We couldn't be more pleased."
The Phillies are starting a six-game road trip against Washington and Atlanta Friday and will send John Lannan to the mound at Nationals Park. Lannan, a former National, is 3-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 12 starts and did not receive a decision in Saturday's 5-4 loss to the Braves, as he gave up four runs (2 earned) in 4 1/3 innings.
Lannan, a left-hander, is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two career starts against his former club. He's also 1-3 in five road starts this season.
Philadelphia is 6-4 against Washington this season.