National League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, August 1 (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (48-61) at Washington Nationals (58-48), 7:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Roberto Hernandez (5-8, 4.14) Washington - Doug Fister (10-2, 2.69)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Nationals hope to unveil their newest acquisition when they resume a four-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies Friday night.
The Nationals are in the hunt for an NL East title and acquired infielder Asdrubal Cabrera from the Cleveland Indians for infielder Zach Walters before the trade deadline. Cabrera is expected to play second base and could be in the lineup against the Phillies at Nationals Park.
Cabrera batted .246 with nine home runs and 46 RBI with the Indians and played most of his career at shortstop. The Nationals made the move after placing third baseman Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list this week with an injured hamstring. Zimmerman could miss the rest of the regular season. Anthony Rendon will continue to serve as the everyday third baseman.
"(The injury) factored into it. With a healthy Zim and a healthy eight players that we had, we wouldn't have a need to acquire a player as skillful as Cabrera," Nats general manager Mike Rizzo said. "Like we said, we like the team that we have. But when Zim went down, to protect ourselves, we felt we should go out and get ourselves a good veteran person that fits into the lineup."
Nationals outfielder Denard Span is familiar with Cabrera having played in the AL Central as well with the Minnesota Twins.
"He is a good player. I played against him for three years. Arguably for two years, he was the best shortstop in the game," Span said. "Definitely a good pickup for us. From what I know about him, he is a good guy, he is a good teammate and has fun."
The fun factor was sucked out of Nationals Park with Thursday's 10-4 loss to the last-place Phillies, as Gio Gonzalez struggled on the mound to the tune of five runs allowed in the fourth inning and lasted just 3 2/3 innings. Gonzalez, who gave up eight hits, had command issues during his short stint on the hill and the bullpen allowed five more runs.
"Some ground balls didn't go my way," Gonzalez said. "They found the holes. I got the pitch I wanted. I got the result I wanted. They just found their way through (for) base hits. The fourth inning just got me."
Span ended with two hits and two RBI, Danny Espinosa went 2-for-3 with an RBI and former Phillie Kevin Frandsen collected two hits and two runs scored. Espinosa is the odd man out with Cabrera now in the fold for Washington, which has lost five of eight games and is 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta for the NL East lead. Wilson Ramos had an RBI in defeat.
The Nationals will resume their eight-game homestand with Doug Fister on the hill tonight and he is 10-2 with a 2.69 earned run average. Fister has won four straight starts and is unbeaten in his previous five decisions. The right-hander threw seven scoreless innings in a 4-2 win at Cincinnati on Sunday and limited the Reds to three hits.
Fister has lasted seven or more innings six times in the last nine tries and will try to remain undefeated at home (5-0, 5 starts). Fister has won both of his career starts against the Phillies and defeated them on June 5 with seven innings of two-run ball in a 4-2 victory.
Philadelphia broke out the bats with a 17-hit attack on Thursday. Ben Revere finished 4-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI, Grady Sizemore had three hits and three RBI and Jimmy Rollins collected three hits, an RBI and scored a run.
Phillies starter Cliff Lee pitched only 2 2/3 innings because of a recurring elbow issue and could be finished for the season. The left-hander, who missed two months with an elbow strain, was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list after the game.
"At this point, that's probably the case," Lee said about being lost for the season.
The Phillies rebounded from an 11-2 loss to the New York Mets on Wednesday and have won five of eight games. They will try to play spoiler once again with Roberto Hernandez on the mound Friday and he is 5-8 with a 4.14 ERA. Hernandez is 2-0 in his last three starts following a three-game slide and defeated Arizona on Sunday with seven innings of two-run ball in a 4-2 triumph.
Hernandez has made three career starts against the Nationals, going 2-1 with a 1.61 earned run average.
Washington is 6-4 against Philadelphia this season and swept a three-game series in DC from June 3-5.
08/01 10:54:00 ET