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News » Phillies-Nationals Preview 2008-07-28

Phillies-Nationals Preview 2008-07-28

Phillies-Nationals Preview 2008-07-28
After rallying for a pair of victories over an NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies look for some less stressful wins when they open a three-game set against the last-place Washington Nationals starting Tuesday night.

The Phillies (56-49) picked up two straight comeback victories over Atlanta last weekend to remain in second in the division, right behind first-place New York. They rallied from a 5-0 deficit Sunday with five homers - each by a different player - and won 12-10.

That came one day after Philadelphia erased a six-run deficit for a 10-9 victory.

The wins were uplifting after the Phillies hit .188 with four homers and six runs during a three-game slide from Wednesday-Friday.

"We never give up. It's fun," said center fielder Shane Victorino, who went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs on Sunday. "We play 27 outs. We keep fighting."

Brett Myers (3-9, 5.82 ERA) hopes the Phillies' hot hitting continues as he makes his second start since being recalled from the minors July 21.

The right-hander, who went 1-8 with a 6.46 ERA during a 13-start stretch before being sent down, didn't get a decision in Wednesday's 6-3 loss at New York, as he struggled with his command in the opening inning. He walked four consecutive batters and allowed two runs in the first inning before settling down over the next four, yielding one run and six hits with one walk and one hit batter. Myers didn't get the decision.

"I felt like his stuff was good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think he was amped. He definitely wanted to do good. He didn't want to come out of the game. He had some fight to him. ... I think right now we need more looks at him."

Myers lost his last start against the Nationals on May 19, giving up three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-0 road defeat.

The Phillies, though, went on to take the next two games of that three-game set, tying the season series at 3-3.

The Nationals (38-67), owners of the worst record in baseball, closed out a 2-7 trip by getting swept in the last two series, including three games at Los Angeles over the weekend. They last dropped seven in a row during a season-high nine-game slide from April 3-12.

Washington, which has been outscored 24-9 during the current skid, opens a six-game homestand looking to get its woeful offense going. The Nationals hit .133 and scored two runs in the last four games, getting shut out in three. They lost 2-0 to the Dodgers on Sunday, a day after mustering two hits and falling 6-0.

Washington hasn't been held without a run in three consecutive games since getting swept by Florida at home from April 13-15, 2004.

"It was a rough West Coast trip," Nats manager Manny Acta told the team's official Web site after being asked if his club hit rock bottom. "We won two out of three games in Atlanta and I didn't hear that question. How many games make rock bottom? Losing 2-0, 1-0? Is that rock bottom? I really don't know that definition. You pick when we hit rock bottom."

Acta gives the ball to Collin Balester (1-2, 5.75), who will be trying to avoid a third consecutive loss in his first start against Philadelphia.

The rookie right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.04 ERA in his last three starts after winning his major league debut July 1, hours after his contract was purchased from Triple-A Columbus.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: July 28, 2008

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