Washington Nationals Look To Beat Philadelphia Phillies, Doc Halladay Tonight

By James Williams
Brad Mills – USA Today Sports

The Washington Nationals go for a series win tonight at 7 p.m. ET on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies. The game will match two of the best pitchers in the National League as Washington will send Jordan Zimmermann, 15-8, 3.33 ERA to the mound to face the Phillies’ Roy Halladay, 3-4, 7.94 ERA.

Last time out Zimmermann had a chance at his National League-leading 16th win on Friday against the New York Mets, but as most Nationals fans will recall they could only score two runs and left him hanging. He allowed three runs on six hits over 7.2 innings in a 3-2 loss.

In his last start, Halladay gave up five runs on seven hits, two walks and two hit batters in five innings against the Chicago Cubs in his second start after shoulder surgery on Aug. 30. But over his outstanding career he has been money against the Nationals. In 18 career appearances (17 starts) against Washington, he is 12-2 with a 2.55 ERA.

There are only 26 games left in this 2013 season, and the Nationals need a win tonight in Philly. What they don’t need is to see a dominant Doc Halladay. They need to see “Jay Zimm” pound the strike zone and keep the ball in the park. But Washington must score runs off Halladay, hopefully knocking him out of the game early.

Meanwhile, the Nationals made some more September call ups yesterday. Washington added shortstop Zach Walters, recalled left-hander Xavier Cedeno, added outfielders Corey Brown, Jeff Kobernus and Eury Perez from Triple-A Syracuse.

Of note, only Walters, 23, didn’t have Major League experience with the club this year. But he is someone who can play all the infield positions, so manager Davey Johnson wanted to see him play with the big club.

He really earned the promotion from Syracuse where he put up some big time numbers hitting .253 with a career-high 29 home runs and 77 RBI in 134 games for the Chiefs. The Nationals hope to give shortstop Ian Desmond some rest from time to time the rest of this month and to see if Walters can play at the MLB level.

Rant Sports columnist James Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award winning, producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Wordmandc and be part of his Google+ group.

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