The Phillies will conclude their visit to D.C. thinking of a sweep of the Nats.

The first place Phillies (58-49) will end their three games series with the woeful Nationals (38-69) tonight. Tonight’s game will be played in Nationals Park and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (8-5, 4.70), who is coming off pitching a quality start that would end up being a lost against the Braves on July 25, going six innings, giving up only an earned run on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 8-2 lost. He will be trying for his ninth win of the season while trying to pitch another quality start so that he can help increase the Phillies’ present lead in the National League East. The Nationals’ will counter with John Lannan (6-10, 3.33), who is coming off a lost to the Dodgers also on July 25, as he went seven innings, while giving up three earned runs on six hits, in the Nationals’ 3-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to put a stop to the Nationals’ present losing streak.

The Phillies’ offense will try to continue their present surge, trying to give Kendrick the runs support that they were unable to give him last Friday night, which shouldn’t be too hard to do against a Nationals team which, in spite of the five runs that they’d scored last night, has been having a hard time scoring runs for their pitchers. With Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard being hot, Pat Burrell remaining a steady bat and Chase Utley appearing to have gotten his stroke back, if Jimmy Rollins can continue getting on base, then the offense will be a problem for the other teams in the National League. The starters will just need to continue throwing quailty starts, while eyes are turned on Brett Myers to see if he will continue to show improvement when he faces the Cardinals this Sunday afternoon. As for the bullpen, a second leftie is still needed to go along with J.C. Romero. Will one be gotten by the 4 pm trade deadline? Your guess is as good as mine.

The Phillies have a half game lead over the Mets as they take the day off. The third place Marlins trails the Phillies by a game and a half as they prepare to face the Rockies for the first of four games in Miami. The fourth place Braves trails the Phils by nine games as they get ready to host the Cardinals for the final game in their four games set. The Phillies will be looking to sweep the Nationals for their first series sweep of the second half, while increasing their lead over the Mets to a full game.

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