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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, May 4th (All times Eastern)

Philadelphia Phillies (13-13) at Washington Nationals (16-9), 7:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 6.59) Washington - Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 1.12)

(Sports Network) - Washington Nationals young phenom Stephen Strasburg will make his sixth start of the season tonight when his ballclub opens a key three-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies in D.C.

Strasburg hasn't recorded a decision in each of his last two starts and last pitched in Saturday's 4-3 loss at Los Angeles in which he surrendered just a run and five hits over seven innings. He struck out nine batters and has fanned at least five in each of his five outings this season.

The hard-throwing right-hander is 2-0 with a stingy 1.12 ERA this season and faced the Phillies during his rookie season. In an 8-1 win in south Philly back on Aug. 21, 2010, Strasburg did not factor in the outcome with 4 1/3 innings of one-run ball and posted six strikeouts.

Washington just took two of three meetings with Arizona following a season- high five-game losing streak and squeezed out a 21- win on Thursday. Nationals young talent Bryce Harper delivered the go-ahead run with an RBI double in the sixth inning to lead the way.

"I just try to get a pitch I can drive every at-bat," said Harper. "Try to stay as calm as I can no matter what the count is and hope for a pitch up in the zone that I can drive."

Nats starter Ross Detwiler allowed a run on three hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings for the win. Tyler Clippard had a 1-2-3 eighth frame, while Henry Rodriguez registered his sixth save of the year after retiring the side in order in the ninth.

Washington leads the National League East with a strong 16-9 record and is 10-3 in the nation's capital this season.

Philadelphia won two of three games in Atlanta and received a brilliant outing from starter Joe Blanton in Thursday's 4-0 win at Turner Field. Blanton went the distance and tossed a three-hit shutout with six strikeouts and no walks for the Phils, who were coming off a long night on Wednesday in a 15-13 loss in 11 innings.

"Honestly, I just tried to use last night's game to my advantage a little bit," Blanton said. "Hopefully maybe they're coming out a touch lethargic. I don't know if that was the case or not. I had some great plays behind me."

Shane Victorino and Laynce Nix both homered, as the Phillies won for the sixth time in nine tries.

Still searching for his first win of the season, Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick gets the nod Friday. Pitching in place of injured lefty Cliff Lee, Kendrick is 0-2 with a 6.59 earned run average in six games (2 starts) this season and has dropped back-to-back trips to the mound. In a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday, Kendrick allowed three runs, two of which were earned, in six innings with a career high-tying seven K's.

Kendrick, who was roughed up for seven runs and 11 hits in three innings of a 9-5 loss at Arizona on April 23, is 0-1 in four games -- one start -- as the guest this season. Kendrick has made 13 career appearances (12 starts) against the Nationals, going 2-3 with a 5.46 ERA.

Washington went 10-8 against the Phillies last season.

05/04 10:57:18 ET