Washington Nationals southpaw John Lannan will be taking the mound at Nationals Park and will be looking for the early decisive series knockout punch tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies. A win tonight would guarantee the Nationals win the first series of the season between the two teams, and deliver a clear message the Nationals will not be easy to push around in the NL East in 2011.
Lannan (1-0, 3.60 ERA) will certainly have his work cut out for him, as he will be challenged by an always powerful Phillies line-up and starting pitcher Roy Halladay (1-0, 0.69 ERA). Halladay has had success against the Nats, going 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA in 2010.
Lannan can't say the same against the Phillies, as he is 0-8 with a 6.09 career ERA against them. The Phillies will be out to enact a measure of revenge on the Army of the Potomac for embarrassing them last night in a 7-4 Nats victory where the Nats threw out a mediocre line-up. Former Phillies star Jayson Werth had a big game against his former team, going 2-for-3 with a double, a RBI, a home run, a walk, a stolen base and two runs scored.
The Nationals will see the return of Adam LaRoche to the line-up, as he has recovered enough from a groin injury to play. His veteran bat and his glove at first base should put Lannan's mind more at ease. The Nats will have the knowledge and intensity of starting catcher Ivan Rodriguez at their disposal tonight, and will need to get production and uncanny plate intelligence out of their younger players such as Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa if they are going to crack Halladay. If last night was any indication, anything can happen.
It should be a classic David versus Goliath type of game, with first pitch at 7:05 P.M. EST.
1. Ian Desmond, SS
2. Rick Ankiel, CF
3. Jayson Werth, RF
4. Adam LaRoche, 1B
5. Laynce Nix, LF
6. Danny Espinosa, 2B
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
8. Ivan Rodriguez, C
9. John Lannan, SP