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Major League Baseball
Preview
Philadelphia at Washington
When: 1:05 PM ET, Saturday, April 18, 2015
Where: Nationals Park, Washington, District of Columbia

The Washington Nationals are beginning to warm up with the bats after a slow start and look to extend their winning streak to four games when they host the struggling Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. The Nationals have scored 37 times over the last six games and 12 in the first two of the series as Bryce Harper belted a three-run homer en route to a 7-2 victory Friday night.

Washington managed only nine runs while losing four of its first five contests as standout infielder Anthony Rendon and leadoff hitter Denard Span started the season on the disabled list. Both are on the mend as the Nationals attempt to hand Philadelphia its seventh consecutive defeat. The Phillies have been outscored 30-13 during the losing streak and had just four hits against Max Scherzer in the first eight frames Friday. Ryan Howard knocked in his second run of the season for Philadelphia, but has put up only six hits in 34 at-bats on the season.

TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, CSN Philadelphia, MASN and WUSA-9 (Washington)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Phillies RH Aaron Harang (1-1, 0.73 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (1-1, 8.64)

Harang has given the Phillies a chance to win in each of his two outings while allowing one run and six hits over 12 1/3 innings with nine strikeouts. The 36-year-old is coming off his best season since 2011, finishing 12-12 with Atlanta and holding Washington to a 1.33 ERA in four starts to win two of three decisions. Dan Uggla is 9-for-27 with a pair of homers versus Harang, who is 3-5 lifetime against the Nationals with a 3.05 ERA in 13 starts.

Zimmermann was outstanding in his season debut before getting pounded for eight runs (seven earned) in 2 1/3 innings against Boston in his next start Monday. “I really didn’t have a feel for the ball and didn’t know where it was going all day,” the 28-year-old Wisconsin native told reporters after the 9-4 loss. Cody Asche is 4-for-9 versus Zimmermann, who is 6-6 lifetime with a 3.48 ERA in 13 starts against Philadelphia – 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 2014.

WALK OFFS

1. Washington INF Yunel Escobar reached base safely in his 10th straight game Friday, but left with a groin injury and his status is uncertain for Saturday.

2. Asche has gone hitless in eight at-bats with three strikeouts the last two games after starting the season 12-for-24.

3. Harper boasts 13 homers in 60 career games in April after his third blast of the season Friday in the first inning.

PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Phillies 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Philadelphia 3-8 L6 3-3 0-5 2-6 0-0 0-0 1-2
Washington 5-6 W3 3-2 2-4 4-4 0-0 0-0 1-2
Last Meeting
Philadelphia Washington
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/17/15 PHI 2 WAS 7 .200 0 .457 .286 2 .845
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Philadelphia F. Galvis .316 6 .883
Washington Y. Escobar .350 7 .981
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Philadelphia D. Ruf 1 1 2
Washington B. Harper 2 5 4
Pitching ERA Avg K
Philadelphia 3.60 .237 41
Washington 2.58 .225 39
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Philadelphia C. Asche .375 12 .944
Washington Y. Escobar .286 12 .766
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Philadelphia C. Utley 2 3 7
Washington B. Harper 3 9 6
Pitching ERA Avg K
Philadelphia 4.12 .213 79
Washington 3.14 .218 82