Jun 19, 2013, 7:40 PM EDT
|Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER|
PHILADELPHIA — I hate using the term "must-win" in baseball, especially on June 19. But let's be honest: This is about as close to a "must-win" game as the Nationals have faced all season. They've lost three in a row. They risk getting swept (and passed in the standings) by the Phillies. And they're clearly at a potentially fragile juncture of the season, knowing they not only can't afford to fall any deeper into a hole but that they need to start climbing upward ASAP.
So, it's up to this lineup to finally get something going against Kyle Kendrick, against whom they've had success in the past (he's 4-6 with a 4.90 ERA in 20 career games against the Nationals). Tonight's key, in my mind: The two guys at the top of the lineup. Denard Span is in a major funk right now, hitting .164 with a .220 OBP this month. Anthony Rendon, on the other hand, has been fantastic since his return from the minors, hitting .395 with a .435 OBP. If those two guys can get on base, the opportunities will be there for Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond.
Gio Gonzalez gets the start for the Nationals, facing the exact same Phillies lineup that scratched out four runs against Ross Detwiler last night.
Updates to come, so please check back…
WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500), XM 187
Weather: Clear, 78 degrees, Wind 3 mph LF to RF
CF Denard Span
2B Anthony Rendon
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
NL EAST STANDINGS
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 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.
Follow us on Twitter
- Nationals lament close call in loss to Phillies
- Nats struggle early, lose in controversial fashion to Phillies
- LaRoche gets rare night off with tight back
- Gonzalez faces Hamels in showdown of southpaws
- Nats' Triple-A affiliate Syracuse raking in postseason awards
- A primer on postseason roster eligibility rules
- Around the NL East: Stanton making strong push for NL MVP
- Nationals can't pull off dramatic rally this time
- Nats' momentum stalls vs. Phillies in first game of long road trip
- Cabrera out of lineup, but not seriously injured