Phillies-Nationals Preview

In its last matchup, Washington ended a six-game skid to
Philadelphia. The chances of the Nationals making it two straight
wins over the Phillies don’t appear too promising.

Putting an 0-10 record with a 6.44 career ERA against
Philadelphia on the line, John Lannan will get the start for
Washington against the Phillies’ Roy Oswalt in the series finale on
Wednesday.

The Nationals knocked around Cliff Lee for six runs in 5 1-3
innings and cruised to a 10-2 rout Tuesday. The 10 runs were the
most scored by Washington in 60 home games against Philadelphia
since the franchise relocated from Montreal in 2005.

Danny Espinosa had three hits, including his team-leading ninth
and 10th homers, and drove in four. He leads all major league
rookies with 33 RBIs.

“I know home runs always come in bunches. Everyone always says
that,” Washington’s second baseman said. “I always feel I’m
capable of going on a hot streak. Even when I go through times that
I struggle I don’t lose my confidence.”

Michael Morse tied a season high with three hits and is batting
.406 during a nine-game hitting streak.

Domonic Brown and John Mayberry hit back-to-back homers for
NL-leading Philadelphia (34-21), which has dropped two of three
following a four-game winning streak.

Washington (23-31) hasn’t taken two straight from Philadelphia
since July 30 and 31, and hopes Lannan (2-5, 4.40 ERA) can finally
come through.

The left-hander has already lost twice to Phillies this season
including May 5, when he lasted a season-low two innings and gave
up six runs and seven hits in a 7-3 loss. In 13 career starts
against Philadelphia, Lannan has allowed at last at least four runs
seven times.

A couple of Phillies have fattened up their batting averages at
Lannan’s expense. Raul Ibanez is 11 for 20 with two homers and four
RBIs, and Chase Utley is 11 for 25 with two homers and six
RBIs.

Lannan has been able to keep Ryan Howard off the basepaths.
Though he’s gone deep twice, the 2006 NL MVP is 5 for 20 with 13
strikeouts.

Lannan also gets the call after his best start of 2011. He
allowed two hits over 7 2-3 scoreless innings Friday and Washington
snapped a five-game skid with a 2-1 win over San Diego on Morse’s
walk-off homer.

Oswalt (3-2, 2.60) has pitched well since coming off the
disabled list in mid-May, but he’s yet to win.

The right-hander, who was out with a back injury, is 0-1 with a
1.50 ERA in his last three starts. Oswalt has surrendered just
three earned runs in 18 innings, but the Phillies have backed him
with only two runs of support – both coming Friday, when he allowed
two runs and nine hits in six innings of a 6-4 win over the New
York Mets.

Getting that first win against the last-place Nationals is not a
given. Though Oswalt is 5-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 15 career starts
versus Washington, he’s 0-1 with a 4.24 ERA in four at Nationals
Park.