Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Posted: 12:30 p.m.
Phillies (34-20) at Nationals (22-31), 7:05 p.m. on CSN
Phillies: Cliff Lee (4-4, 3.50) has gone eight innings in each of his last two starts, including a 10-4 win over Cincinnati last Thursday in which he gave up four runs and 10 hits. In his career, Lee is 3-0 with a 1.44 ERA against the Nats, including a three-hit shutout on April 14.
Nationals: Jason Marquis (5-2, 4.26) is 0-5 with a 9.49 ERA in six starts against the Phillies since joining the Nationals in 2010. However, he is 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three home starts this season.
The Phillies took Monday's series opener, 5-4, as Ryan Howard homered and added an RBI single and Raul Ibanez homered and also delivered a sac fly. Roy Halladay went seven innings for the win, and Ryan Madson retired the side in the ninth for his 12th save.
The Phillies have won six straight games against the Nationals and are 45-16 against them since the start of the 2008 season.
Howard has driven in two runs in each of his last two games, while Ibanez has at least one RBI in seven of his last eight games. For the Nats, Laynce Nix has homered in two of his last three games and Mike Morse has an eight-game hitting streak during which he's racked up five homers and 11 RBIs.
Can the Phillies, and Lee in particular, continue their success against the Nationals? Factor in how the Phils have pounded Marquis over the last two years, and this certainly seems like a game the Phillies should win. Against Lee, Nats players Michael Morse (2-for-10) and Rick Ankiel (0-for-8) do not have good career numbers. However, Ivan Rodriguez is 12-for-32 (.375) against the lefty. Against Marquis, Howard is a .318 (7-for-22) career hitter, while Ibanez is at .368 (7-for-19). Chase Utley is 13-for-28 (.464) against Marquis.
Has Cliff Lee met your expectations to this point in the season?