Phillies visit the Nation’s capitol to play the worst team in the Majors, with first place directly in their sights.

The second place Phillies (56-49) go down to Washington, D.C. to play the last place Nationals (38-67), presently the worst team in the Major Leagues. The game will be played in Nationals Park and will begin at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send out to the mound Brett Myers (3-9, 5.82), who is coming off a so-so start against the Mets on July 23, after coming back from a short stint in the minors to regain both his fast ball and his confidence. In that start, he would record a no-decision, going five innings as he gave up three earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 lost. He has faced the Nationals twice already this year, with a record of 0-1, and a no-decision in a game that the Phillies would win. In those two starts, he would go a total of eleven innings, giving up seven runs, six of which were earned, on thirteen hits. He will be trying to prove that he has improved since his recent stint in the minors, while trying to set things up for the Phillies in this series as they try to regain first place in the East. The lowly Nationals will counter with Collin Balester (1-2, 5.75), who is coming off a no-decision against the Giants on July 23, his fourth major league start, in the Nationals’ 6-4 lost. He would go five innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits. In his four starts, he would go a total of twenty and a third innings, giving up fifteen runs, thirteen of which were earned, on twenty-two hits. He will be trying to even his record while hoping to baffle the Phillies’ batters, since this will be the first that they will have faced him, and the Phillies tend to have a nasty habit of losing to newbies who they are facing for the first time in their careers.

The Phillies’ offense will be trying to continue where they have left off on Sunday, starting to score runs and doing most of it via situational hitting. They have here an opportunity to win their first road series of the second half, as they face the worst team in the majors. Although the team should not over look the Nationals before they continue on to St. Louis to face the Cardinals, it would be very embarrassing if they loss the series to the present door mat of the National League. Here is a major chance for this team to prove that they can defeat their divisional rivals, other than the Braves, whom they presently own. Although the Nationals have played them tough in the past, in their last series back in May, they won the series, with the rout in the two teams’ last meeting leading to the Phils’ major run of victories in May-early June, and the Phillies will hopefully be able to defeat the Nationals to continue their present run.

The Phillies are now trailing the first place Mets by a half game, while leading the third place Marlins by a half game, after the fish’s defeat of the Mets in Miami last night. The fourth place Braves still trail the Phillies by seven games as they got crushed by the Cardinals last night at home. The Phillies will be trying to regain first place, hoping to do it tonight via a combination of a win and a Mets’ lost to the Marlins.

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