Series Preview: Nats Look to Clinch NL East Against the Phillies

Well, the final series of the regular season is upon us and the Nats magic number is down to one. Now, I know that Bryce, Jayson, Zim and the boys were roughed up in two out of their last three games with the Cardinals, but there is a silver lining to two of the more depressing games that I have watched in a while, we get to clinch the division playing the Phillies.

Do not get me wrong, I would have loved to have had three to five games where we could have had the Shark running around the outfield making ESPN’s Top Ten every night while the Regular starters rested for a clash with (most likely) the Braves in the NLDS, but it did not work out that way. However, when asked ‘which team in the division has plagued the Nats since the move to DC in 2005?’, the answer is definitely the Phillies. Which fan base makes the drive from Pennsylvania to be the biggest visiting jerks in all of baseball? The answer is again, the Phillies. So, who which team would be the best to clinch against? I would say the Phillies.

The Citizens of Natstown get to tell every Philly fan around the country that the NL East is not a guarantee every year and remind all of baseball that through player development and intelligent drafting a team can go from rags to riches pretty quickly.

After all that, onto the series preview.

It is important to note that if the Nats clinch tonight or tomorrow things will probably change drastically in regards to who is playing where and on what night. Davey Johnson has repeatedly said that he will rest most of his starters after they clinch because he wants them to be as fresh as possible for the post season.

Tonight, John Lannan (4-0) gets the start for the Nationals. Lannan came last week against the Phillies where he pitched five and a third innings, allowing five hits, two runs and striking out three. If Lannan wins tonight it will be his third consecutive win against Philadelphia. For the season, Lannan has a 4.23 ERA (3.65 FIP) in 27.2 IP.

Lannan will be facing off against the Phillies, Kyle Kendrick (10-12). Kendrick has a 4.08 ERA (4.43 FIP) for the season over the course of 150 IP. His last outing against the Nats did not go so well. He started for the Phillies on September 26 and only made it two innings, while surrendering five hits, five runs, three homers (Harper, Desmond and Suzuki) and walking two.

Washington may be playing for the division, but the Phillies are playing for something too, a winning record. Philly has had a winning record in each of the last nine seasons and is looking to make it ten with a sweep of the Nationals, but looking at the outing that Kendrick had against the Nationals last week and Lannan’s “lights out” performance against the Phils lately, the Nats might be sending the Phillies back home with something they have not experienced since Bryce Harper was nine years old…a losing record. The Nationals will also need a sweep of the series to end the season with a winning record against Philadelphia, something that has eluded the Nats since moving to DC from Montreal.

Phillies Jimmy Rollins has had the Nats number this year and has belted five home runs and nine RBIs this season. However, he has an abysmal .176/.200/.176 slashline against John Lannan since 2009, including an 0-3 effort last week.

John Lannan vs. Current Phillies

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Jimmy Rollins 48 46 11 2 0 1 5 2 2 .239 .271 .348 .619
Ryan Howard 46 39 9 2 0 3 8 3 14 .231 .348 .513 .861
Chase Utley 45 38 13 1 0 2 6 4 8 .342 .444 .526 .971
Carlos Ruiz 31 25 7 0 0 1 3 5 1 .280 .387 .400 .787
Ty Wigginton 17 15 3 1 0 0 1 2 0 .200 .294 .267 .561
John Mayberry 14 12 6 1 0 0 1 1 0 .500 .571 .583 1.155
Juan Pierre 7 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .286 .286 .286 .571
Roy Halladay 7 6 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .167 .167 .167 .333
Cole Hamels 6 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .250 .250 .250 .500
Domonic Brown 6 6 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 .167 .167 .167 .333
Kevin Frandsen 5 5 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 .400 .400 1.000 1.400
Kyle Kendrick 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
B.J. Rosenberg 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
Darin Ruf 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Nate Schierholtz 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 240 209 57 8 1 7 27 17 31 .273 .349 .421 .770
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/1/2012.

Kyle Kendrick vs. Current Nationals

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Ryan Zimmerman 34 30 10 7 0 1 2 2 4 .333 .412 .667 1.078
Adam LaRoche 22 18 3 1 0 0 0 4 3 .167 .318 .222 .540
Ian Desmond 21 20 9 2 1 2 5 0 2 .450 .476 .950 1.426
Danny Espinosa 19 16 3 1 0 0 0 3 4 .188 .316 .250 .566
Roger Bernadina 13 11 2 0 0 0 0 2 3 .182 .308 .182 .490
Jesus Flores 12 12 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 .250 .250 .250 .500
Steve Lombardozzi 12 12 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500
Jayson Werth 12 11 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .091 .167 .091 .258
Bryce Harper 11 9 5 2 0 1 2 2 0 .556 .636 1.111 1.747
Kurt Suzuki 7 6 2 0 0 1 2 1 0 .333 .429 .833 1.262
Mike Morse 6 4 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167
Chad Tracy 5 5 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 .400 .400 1.000 1.400
Stephen Strasburg 4 4 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 .250 .250 .500 .750
Craig Stammen 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
John Lannan 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Edwin Jackson 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Gio Gonzalez 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Tyler Moore 1 1 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 1.000 1.000 4.000 5.000
Tom Gorzelanny 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
Jordan Zimmermann 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000
Total 192 170 50 14 1 7 18 16 23 .294 .368 .512 .880
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/1/2012.

Offensively, the Nats have appeared pretty dormant of the past couple of games against the Cardinals with one exception. Bryce Harper is in the midst of a seven game hitting streak where he has boasted a .481/.533/.963 slash line, with three home runs and seven RBIs (No that isn’t a typo, he’s SLUGGING .963 over the last week). He blasted his twenty-second home run last night, which puts him only two shy of the major league record for most home runs hit by a teenager. Harper hit a home run off Kendrick last night time he faced him so you never know; Washington might have another record to claim by the end of the series.

If the Nationals do not clinch the division tonight, Gio Gonzalez (21-8, 2.89 ERA, 2.83 FIP) is scheduled to start tomorrow and Edwin Jackson (9-11, 4.13 ERA, 3.94 FIP) will take the mound on Wednesday. Gio is 3-1 against the Phillies this year, where he has pitched 25 innings, allowing 18 hits, seven runs, while striking out fifteen.

Gio Gonzalez vs. Current Phillies

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
John Mayberry 12 11 2 0 0 1 2 1 2 .182 .250 .455 .705
Juan Pierre 10 10 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 .300 .300 .300 .600
Jimmy Rollins 9 7 3 1 0 0 0 2 0 .429 .556 .571 1.127
Ty Wigginton 9 5 0 0 0 0 0 4 3 .000 .444 .000 .444
Erik Kratz 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 .000 .000 .000 .000
Kevin Frandsen 6 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .400 .500 .400 .900
Chase Utley 6 6 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Ryan Howard 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .167 .000 .167
Carlos Ruiz 6 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .000 .167 .000 .167
Nate Schierholtz 3 3 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 .667 .667 1.667 2.333
Darin Ruf 3 3 2 1 0 0 3 0 1 .667 .667 1.000 1.667
Domonic Brown 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 1.000 1.667
Michael Martinez 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Kyle Kendrick 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Tyler Cloyd 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Roy Halladay 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000
Total 89 77 17 3 0 2 10 9 23 .221 .315 .338 .652
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/1/2012.

Jackson is 0-3 against Philly this season, where he has struck out 18, while allowing 22 hits, nine runs and three homers. It is important to note that Jackson has not received a lot of run support in his outings against the Phillies this year, so his numbers do not reflect the effort he has put in against them. Speaking of numbers not accurately portraying how well a pitcher has pitched, the Nats will face Cliff Lee (6-8, 3.12 ERA, 3.09 FIP) on Wednesday to close out the regular season.

Edwin Jackson vs. Current Phillies

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Ty Wigginton 15 13 4 1 0 1 1 2 3 .308 .400 .615 1.015
Ryan Howard 13 10 1 1 0 0 0 3 7 .100 .308 .200 .508
Jimmy Rollins 11 10 6 1 0 2 4 1 0 .600 .636 1.300 1.936
Nate Schierholtz 11 11 3 0 0 1 1 0 2 .273 .273 .545 .818
Chase Utley 10 8 4 1 1 0 2 2 2 .500 .600 .875 1.475
Juan Pierre 10 8 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 .375 .444 .375 .819
Carlos Ruiz 9 9 5 2 0 0 2 0 1 .556 .556 .778 1.333
Domonic Brown 9 9 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 .222 .222 .333 .556
Laynce Nix 6 5 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .400 .500 .400 .900
John Mayberry 6 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .333 .333 .333 .667
Erik Kratz 6 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .200 .333 .200 .533
Kevin Frandsen 6 5 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .167 .000 .167
Cole Hamels 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000
Kyle Kendrick 2 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 3.000
Roy Halladay 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Total 119 104 35 8 1 4 12 12 24 .337 .405 .548 .953
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/1/2012.

Cliff Lee vs. Current Nationals

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Mike Morse 20 20 7 0 0 0 1 0 5 .350 .350 .350 .700
Kurt Suzuki 19 17 7 2 0 0 3 2 2 .412 .474 .529 1.003
Jayson Werth 17 16 3 1 0 0 1 0 7 .188 .176 .250 .426
Danny Espinosa 16 16 7 1 0 3 5 0 3 .438 .438 1.063 1.500
Ryan Zimmerman 15 15 2 0 0 0 0 0 3 .133 .133 .133 .267
Adam LaRoche 11 11 3 2 0 0 0 0 3 .273 .273 .455 .727
Ian Desmond 11 10 2 1 0 0 0 1 4 .200 .273 .300 .573
Jesus Flores 8 8 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 .250 .250 .375 .625
Roger Bernadina 7 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .429 .429 .429 .857
Tyler Moore 6 6 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 .667 1.000
Steve Lombardozzi 6 5 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .200 .333 .200 .533
Mark DeRosa 6 6 1 1 0 0 0 0 4 .167 .167 .333 .500
Bryce Harper 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Chad Tracy 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
Ross Detwiler 3 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667
Jordan Zimmermann 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Stephen Strasburg 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000
Total 159 154 43 11 0 3 12 4 39 .279 .296 .409 .705
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/1/2012.

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