Nationals Vs. Phillies Preview: Stephen Strasburg Starts First Game Of 3-Game Series

May 22, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) hits an RBI sacrifice fly during the third inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Nationals defeated the Phillies 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Washington Nationals open up a thee-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night. Can the Nationals win their 14th game against the Phillies in their last 18 meetings?

The Washington Nationals find themselves in first place, three and-a-half games in front of the Atlanta Braves as they begin a three game series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night. It's assuredly a sign of the times for the last-place Phillies as outfielder Hunter Pence was traded to the San Francisco Giants and fellow outfielder Shane Victorino was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier on Tuesday.

Both teams are in situations that they are not used to. The Nationals are inching closer to the franchise's first playoff berth since 1981 and the Phillies haven't been in last place this late in the season since August 12, 2002. Pitcher Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 2.76 ERA) will take the hill for the Nationals, looking to win their 14th game against the Phillies in their last 18 matchups.

In his last start on July 25, Strasburg pitched seven innings against the New York Mets, he allowed one run on four hits and struck out 11 while not walking anyone.

The Phillies on the other hand will send pitcher Cliff Lee (1-6, 3.95) to the mound. In his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 25, Lee went seven innings, allowing six runs on 12 hits and struck out six in a no-decision.

The game is scheduled for a 7:05 p.m. start time from Nationals Park. Television coverage will be provided by MASN 2 with a national broadcast on MLB Network. Radio coverage will be provided by 106.7 The Fan FM, 1500 WFED AM and 1580 WHFS AM.

For more on this and all things Washington Nationals baseball, please check out Federal Baseball. And as always, please check out the SB Nation MLB Baseball hub page for more on this and every Major League series.

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