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Jayson Werth has been the hottest hitter in baseball for over a month but has enjoyed the same kind of success against the Philadelphia Phillies all season long. Werth, who will attempt to lead the Washington Nationals to a three-game home sweep of Philadelphia on Sunday, went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and scored three times in Saturday’s win. He is batting a major league-best .404 since July 1 and is 14-for-33 with four homers and 10 RBIs against his former team in nine games this season.
While the Nationals attempt to match their longest winning streak since the All-Star break with their third straight victory Sunday, Philadelphia tries to halt its second-half nosedive. The Phillies have lost eight of their last 10 games and are 4-16 since the All-Star break, getting outscored 120-67 over that span. Charlie Manuel remains one shy of becoming the 59th manager to reach 1,000 career wins, but he’ll need Philadelphia to snap its 10-game road losing streak in order to do so this weekend.
TV: 5:05 p.m. ET, WB17 (Philadelphia), MASN (Washington)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Kyle Kendrick (10-8, 4.36 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Stephen Strasburg (5-9, 3.01)
After emerging as one of the team’s top starters earlier in the season, Kendrick is only 3-4 with a 6.93 ERA in his last seven starts. He survived two homers – one more than he allowed over his previous four outings combined – and yielded five runs (four earned) in six frames during a no-decision in Tuesday’s 9-8 home victory over the Chicago Cubs. Kendrick is 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in three turns against the Nationals this season and 5-6 with a 4.42 ERA against them in 22 career appearances (20 starts).
Strasburg saw his winless streak stretch reach five starts when he settled for a no-decision despite giving up two runs and striking out nine over seven innings in Monday’s 3-2 home loss to the Atlanta Braves. The No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 draft has lasted at least seven frames in each of his last four starts and yielded two runs or fewer in three of those contests. Strasburg dominated the Phillies in his only start against them this season on May 26, allowing one run and fanning nine over eight innings.
1. Werth’s nine home runs and 27 RBIs since the beginning of July leads all National League hitters.
2. The Phillies’ road skid is their longest since dropping 12 in a row from August 28-September 14, 1999.
3. Washington is 50-14 in games in which it scores three or more runs, but only 6-46 when it scores two or fewer.
PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Phillies 1