Originally posted on The Nats Blog old  |  Last updated 8/24/12

The Washington Nationals (77-47) head north to face the Philadelphia Phillies (58-67) in the final game at Nationals Park North, er... Citizens Bank Park, this season. It's a three-game series that has much more value to the Nats than the Phils, as the Atlanta Braves, the Nats only competition for the NL East title, take on a very good San Francisco Giants team out west. 

Pitching Prowess

Many expected the Phillies starters to be the model for the league once again the season, but the Nats starters have been the best in baseball this year. The names Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee should absolutely still draw concern out of Nats fans, though, despite mediocre seasons from both of them. Historically, Halladay has a 2.55 ERA against the Nats, while Lee has an even more impressive 2.44 ERA. They'll definitely have their work cut out for them, though, as they face Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann, respectively.

The Nats starters give up the fewest runs per game in the majors, while the Phillies aren't in the top half of the NL this year. It looks like a changing of the guard is in progress.

An Aging Lineup

The Phillies are still getting used to a new lineup from the trade deadline. Though some of their core is still around with Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard, they’re aging, and some of the guys getting regular starts for the Phils were never meant to be more than bench players. Well over half of the Phillies starters are over 30 and in the downswing of their careers, while In contrast, well over half of the Nats regular starters are under 30 and in the upswing of theirs.

Who’s Hot?

Kevin Frandsen (3B) .471/.550/.588 in last five games

Domonic Brown (OF) .429/.478/.762 in last five games

Who’s Not?

Jimmy Rollins (SS) .190/.182/.333 in last five games

Probable Pitchers

Edwin Jackson (7-8, 3.69 ERA) vs. Kyle Kendrick (6-9, 4.20 ERA)

Gio Gonazalez (16-6, 3.23 ERA) vs. Roy Halladay (7-7, 3.95 ERA)

Jordan Zimmermann (9-7, 2.54 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee (2-7, 3.78 ERA)

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