Don’t point fingers at me. I wasn’t the only one who thought the Washington Nationals would win the whole shebang in 2013. I was just hoping they got eliminated to the Giants could at least have a shot at it. And so it goes.
And even this year the Nationals were a popular pick not only to make a run at their second consecutive division crown, but a World Series title, as well. But it has not gone to plan just yet for the Nationals, who enter the weekend a game above .500 at 24-23.
The Nationals ended the Phillies’ reign of five consecutive division titles a year ago, and Friday’s game will be the first meeting between the two sides this season. Philadelphia enters the series just a game behind Washington, while both clubs are chasing Atlanta in the NL East.
Jordan Zimmermann will be on the mound for the Nationals, who have scored just nine runs in their past five games. Zimmermann has been one of the best pitchers in the NL this season and is 7-2 with 45 strikeouts, nine walks and a 1.62 ERA in nine outings.
The Phillies, meanwhile, will give the ball to right-hander Kyle Kendrick in the series opener as they look to return to the .500 mark for the first time since April 14.
Not sure why the money line is trending heavily to the Nationals. Washington has scored two runs or fewer in eight of its last 12 games and even the excellent Jordan Zimmermann is 1-4 with a 5.06 ERA in six starts against Philadelphia.
[copy assembled from MLB.com and other sources]