Sep 17, 2010, 7:45 PM EDT
File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
After taking two of three in Atlanta, the Nats take their spoiler act to Philly.
Whether it's a motivating factor for them or not, the Nationals are in position to have a significant effect on the NL playoff race. They just deal the Braves a serious blow in taking two of three at Turner Field, and this weekend at Citizens Bank Park they'll have the opportunity to do likewise to the Phillies. Then, both NL East contenders come to D.C. for the Nationals' final homestand of the season, six more games that will have a direct impact on this race.
The Phillies and Braves, of course, also still have six games against each other before season's end, and with that in mind Charlie Manuel has reconfigured his starting rotation so that his three big guns (Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels) can all face Atlanta. Oswalt still starts tonight, but then the Nats get Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton.
Nyjer Morgan begins serving his eight-game suspension tonight. Justin Maxwell will be taking his place in center field tonight, flanked by Roger Bernadina and Willie Harris, but that alignment could change on a daily basis.
Jason Marquis starts tonight, pitching on Yom Kippur, which is something he's done in the past but takes into consideration each time the situation arises. Marquis, who is Jewish, told me last week he will probably be fasting as custom dictates and attending services with his family tomorrow near his home on Staten Island.
In observance of the holiday, which runs from sundown tonight to sundown tomorrow, I won't be in Philadelphia for this series. Enjoy the game and please continue the conversation with each other…
NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WWFD-820 AM
Weather: Partly cloudy, 75 degrees, Wind 7 mph in from LF
2B Danny Espinosa
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam Dunn
NL EAST STANDINGS
Through Saturday's games
NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Saturday's games
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
Full season schedule
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
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