If the playoffs were set to begin today, the Philadelphia Phillies certainly would not have momentum on their side.
After getting swept in last night's doubleheader against the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia aims to avoid a season-high fifth straight defeat when the two teams meet again on Wednesday night.
The Phillies have been held to three runs or less in 12 of their last 13 games, including both ends of Tuesday's twinbill. Ryan Zimmerman notched a pinch-hit RBI single in the 10th inning to lift the Nationals to a 4-3 victory in the first game before Ross Detwiler hurled 7 1/3 scoreless innings to win the nightcap, 3-0.
"I just focused on keeping the ball down," Detwiler said. "I felt I got stronger as the game went on."
Drew Storen closed out both games for Washington to reach 40 saves on the season as the club extended its road winning streak to six straight games. The Nationals have won three straight and eight of their last 10 overall and have evened their season series with the Phillies, 8-8, thanks to a victory in seven of the last nine meetings.
Washington will try to win four straight over Philadelphia for the first time since the Montreal Expos did so from Aug. 25-28, 2003.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, has lost eight of its past 12 games as it continues to rest regulars down the stretch, having already locked up a fifth straight National League East title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Phils, though, haven't won since clinching the division crown on Saturday, while getting shut out twice since.
"I'll start really playing our regulars the last two games in New York," Manuel said. "I'd like to get our lineup set and let them play a little bit before [the playoffs]."
Another patchwork lineup by the Phillies could help Nationals starter John Lannan win a career-high 10th game of this season and record just his second lifetime victory over the Phillies. The lefty has lost two straight and six of his past seven starts, giving him a 9-13 record and 3.68 earned run average on the season.
Washington has been held to one run or less four times over Lannan's last seven starts and has scored more than three runs just once. It failed to give him any support in a 3-0 loss to Florida on Friday, with Lannan allowing three runs over six innings.
"Tonight was a battle," Lannan said after that game. "I didn't have my best stuff, I was all over the place."
The 26-year-old allowed seven runs in his last start at Philadelphia on Aug. 13, though just one was earned. He also walked five over the three-inning stint and is just 1-12 with a 5.81 ERA in 16 lifetime starts versus the Phillies. That includes a 1-4 mark and 5.06 ERA in five starts this year.
Vance Worley gets the call for the Phillies, who have lost his last two starts after winning each of his previous 14. Worley got a loss in Milwaukee on Sept. 11, but did not factor into the decision of a 4-2 setback to St. Louis on Friday. He allowed a run on six hits and three walks in six innings of work.
The 23-year-old righty is 11-2 with a 2.85 ERA on the season, and that includes a 6-0 record and 2.01 ERA in 11 games at home. He is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA versus Washington.
Both the Phils and Nats could be without two regulars tonight. Washington's Jayson Werth left the second game after getting hit on the elbow during a pickoff attempt in the seventh inning and is day-to-day, while Hunter Pence did not start the nightcap for Philadelphia because of patellar tendinitis in his left knee and is set to have an MRI today.