Washington Nationals' pitcher Stephen Strasburg pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Nationals Park on August 15, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
The very key possibly to the Phillies advancing to the playoffs may lie in their ability to beat the Washington Nationals. The Phils will play the Nationals 7 more times including this afternoon’s game in Philly before the season ends. From Sept. 6th on, the Phillies will play the NL East teams the rest of the way through the season. The Phillies also play the NL East Division leading Atlanta Braves head to head, six more times this season. The Phillies must start to win games when the Braves lose them, or the Phillies will not be successful in winning the NL East Division.
The Nationals have improved as a baseball team this year, their record may not show it, but they have quietly been assembling a better group of players that make up the Nats team. The Nats have a 53-70 record so far on the year.
Steven Strasburg, Washington Nat’s ace, suffered some sort or injury last night on the field against the Phillies. He looked to have a somewhat serious problem as he looked down at his arm and elbow. After a promising start in which we saw Strasburg throw triple digits, it seems like he has an injury that may end his season. That is terrible news for him and Nats fans, but I am sure the Phillies won’t be too sorry to see him hang up his cleats for the rest of the season. We’ll be keeping an eye out on just what this injury is as the information has been almost non-existent on how severe this injury may be. Strasburg will have an MRI on Monday to determine what the severity of the injury is.
The Phillies have a 6-5 edge over the Washington Nationals in the season series so far. The Nats/Expos have only won two season series from the Phillies in the last 14 years, the Nats doing it in 2006 with a 10-9 record, and the Expos in 2002, when they posted an 11-8 record.
On the season, the Phillies (69-53) have 39 games left including Sunday afternoon’s game today, if they win 20 of those games, they will win 89 games on the season, a bit less than many have predicted and probably not enough to win the division. The team simply needs to pick it up and start playing like the World Series team that they are. Every loss now is crucial and will lead to the loss of the division.
News and Notes:
Ryan Howard surprised a lot of people by returning to the lineup on Saturday night. He wasn't rumored to be returning until today. He batted 1-4 with an RBI, the Phillies only RBI of the game.
Chase Utley has been back in the lineup for a couple days, last night 0-3 with a walk, and leaves his season BA at .273
Kendrick's loss last night brings him to 8-6 with a 4.58 ERA on the season.