Preview: Strasburg Takes The Mound Against The Phillies

(Sports Network) - Phillies manager Charlie Manuel says he is excited to see the NationalsStephen Strasburg pitch against his club for the first time.

That feeling could change real quick.

Philadelphia gets the first of likely many future meetings against the potential Washington ace tonight in the continuation of a three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

None of Strasburg's first 11 career starts have come versus the Phillies, though the two figure to get to know each other well over the coming future.

"I'm excited to see him pitch," Manuel told Philadelphia's official website. "I don't want him to beat us. I want to beat him. What I see from him is exciting. I get excited about his talent, style, ability. I know if he stays healthy, he's going to pitch in the big leagues for a long time."

The 22-year-old Strasburg will be making his third start since a disabled list stint and is winless over his last two outings. Strasburg was tagged for six runs over a career-low 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Marlins on Aug. 10, then allowed three runs -- one earned -- over five frames of a no-decision versus the Diamondbacks on Sunday. He struck out seven in his team's 5-3 win.

The right-hander is 5-3 with a 2.97 earned run average on the season and is looking for his first win since July 21.

While Philadelphia's offense has the potential to rattle any pitcher, it managed just one run off Washington starterJason Marquis in Friday's opener. That turned out to be all the Phillies would need in a 1-0 victory.

Roy Halladay hurled seven scoreless innings and both Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge pitched an inning of relief to finish off the shutout. Lidge converted his seventh straight save and 17th of the season.

"I battled myself a little bit early," said Halladay, who had a runner on base in each inning. "It was kind of one of those games where you're working to make pitches. I made some when I needed to and I had a little luck on my side to get out of some of those jams."

Raul Ibanez drove in the lone run when his bouncer up the first-base line in the third inning hit off Adam Dunn's glove and allowed Chase Utley to score.

The Phillies picked up their fifth win in six games as well as their 13th in the last 17. The club's 18th victory in its past 21 at home also helped it maintain a one-game edge over the Giants for the National League Wild Card spot and a 2 1/2-game deficit for first place in the NL East behind the Braves.

Marquis remained winless (0-6) despite his first five-inning start of the year. He did lower his ERA nearly three full runs to 11.39, but Washington went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 to fall for the ninth time in 12 games.

Kyle Kendrick gets the nod tonight for the Phillies and he put a tough outing behind him on Sunday by besting the Mets.

Kendrick, who turns 26 on Thursday, was charged with five earned runs versus the Dodgers on Aug. 10, but rebounded to beat the Mets with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball. He improved to 8-5 on the season with a 4.45 ERA by winning for the third time in his last four decisions.

The right-hander was drilled for six runs over just 1 2/3 frames the last time he faced the Nationals on April 14, with Kendrick falling to 1-2 with a 6.93 ERA in his career versus the Washington franchise.

After going 39-15 over the Nats in the previous three seasons, including 20-7 at home, the Phillies have won just six of the 10 matchups in 2010, taking two of three at Citizens Bank Park from April 12-15.

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