Aug 12, 2011, 9:00 PM EDT
File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Livan Hernandez faces Cole Hamels tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
As if the challenge facing the Nationals this weekend in Philadelphia wasn't tough enough, they're going to have to go up against the NL East division leaders tonight without their best hitter. Though X-rays taken on Michael Morse's left elbow were negative, the cleanup hitter and first baseman is not in Davey Johnson's lineup for the series opener at Citzens Bank Park.
Johnson is already dealing with a short bench because of an eight-man bullpen, so barring some other roster move, the Nationals will have only three healthy reserves tonight: Alex Cora, Laynce Nix and Jesus Flores. Jonny Gomes, meanwhile, will take Morse's spot in the No. 4 spot in the lineup. Brian Bixler makes his first career start at first base and will bat eighth.
That lineup will be up against lefty Cole Hamels, who has posted a 1.76 ERA his last four starts. He'll be opposed by Livan Hernandez, who has a 7.06 ERA over his last six outings.
I'm at Potomac tonight for Stephen Strasburg's rehab start, so there won't be updates on this game here. But I'll be driving up to Philly tomorrow for the rest of the series. Enjoy tonight's games…
NATIONALS at PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 185
Weather: Sunny, 81 degrees, Wind 5 mph in from LF
CF Rick Ankiel
2B Danny Espinosa
3B Ryan Zimmerman
LF Jonny Gomes
NL EAST STANDINGS
*Through Saturday's games
NL WILD CARD STANDINGS
*Through Saturday's games
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