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Nationals Vs. Phillies: Washington Leaves It To John Lannan To Depart Philadelphia Victorious

For the past two nights, the Washington Nationals have looked absolutely helpless in their pursuit of a victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. While they have had more than serviceable starting pitching, it is has been the Nationals' offense that has been really holding them back. Phillies pitchers have had absolutely no fear of or challenge from the Nationals lineup, while their own bats seem to know they just have to patiently wait for a breakdown from the tiring Nationals' starter. It has been a systematic and brutal dissection to watch.

On Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. EST, the Nationals will be throwing everything they have left behind John Lannan (2-3, 3.78 ERA) in hopes they can leave the state of Pennsylvania with a win in the series and avoid getting swept by their NL East rivals. Lannan has faced the Phillies once in 2011 so far, suffering the loss in a 3-2 Nationals defeat on April 13. In that game, Lannan only gave up two earned runs. He hopes that he continues that success against the powerful Phillies lineup, while at the same time praying for run support from his own team.

The Nationals will have their work cut out for them, as they did on April 13th. They will be facing the same pitcher that shut them down in Roy Halladay (4-1, 2.14 ERA). Halladay has hardly blinked when he squares off against the Nationals. He has accumulated a 9-1 with a 1.96 ERA career total against Washington.

Outfielders Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse are out of the lineup Thursday. Ankiel is suffering from a sore wrist, while Morse is nursing a sore right knee.

Nationals Lineup

Danny Espinosa - 2B

Alex Cora - 3B

Jayson Werth - RF

Laynce Nix - LF

Adam LaRoche - 1B

Wilson Ramos - C

Jerry Hairston Jr. - CF

Ian Desmond - SS

John Lannan - SP