While the National League East-leading Washington Nationals will open their three-game home series against Philadelphia Phillies with phenom Stephen Strasburg on the mound, the Phillies might not know for certain who represent them on the mound until after the 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trading deadline. Veteran left-hander Cliff Lee is scheduled to make the start, but he was linked to trade rumors on the eve of Tuesday’s deadline.
The Nationals also might look to make a move, especially with Strasburg’s innings piling up. They have said throughout the season his innings would be limited. The Nationals (61-40) hold the best record in the majors and lead the division by 3 1/2 games over Atlanta. They have won eight of nine and are coming off a 6-1 road trip.
Phillies Nationals Betting
When: 7:05 PM ET, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CSN Philadelphia, MASN2
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies LH Cliff Lee (1-6, 3.95 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (11-4, 2.76)
Lee had strung together three solid starts in July before getting throttled for six runs and 12 hits over seven innings last Tuesday against Milwaukee. He matched a career high by allowing four home runs and was on the hook for his seventh loss before the Phillies rallied late to win. Lee is 3-2 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts against Washington.
Strasburg posted his 15th quality start in 20 outings this season Wednesday at Citi Field, striking out 11 and holding the New York Mets to one run on four hits over seven innings. Strasburg is 0-0 with a 3.48 ERA in two starts against the Phillies, including one this season. He allowed three runs over six innings in a no-decision May 4 in Washington.
1. Strasburg’s last outing marked the fourth time this season he has hit double-digits in strikeouts and boosted his NL-best strikeout total to 151.
2. In addition to Lee, the Phillies reportedly are shopping a number of other players, including RHP Joe Blanton, SS Jimmy Rollins, OF Juan Pierre, OF Shane Victorino, OF Hunter Pence and utility man Ty Wigginton.
3. INF Danny Espinosa and 3B Ryan Zimmerman have been two of Washington’s hottest hitters lately, but they have vastly different stats against Lee. Espinosa is 7-for-10 with three homers against him, while Zimmerman is 1-for-12 with three strikeouts.