B.J. Rosenberg (1-2, 6.86 ERA, 1.29 WHIP) last started for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs on July 29th. He faced off against last night’s starter for the Nationals, John Lannan. Rosenberg went 5.2 innings allowing three runs on six hits while striking out four in the Iron Pigs 6-3 win. In eight appearances out of the bullpen for the Phillies in September, Rosenberg is 1-0 with a 0.87 ERA. He has not allowed a run since September 1st (10 innings pitched) and has allowed just two hits in the last 30 at bats dating back to September 4th. Overall, he has 21 strikeouts in 21 innings with the big club.
Tom Gorzelanny (4-2, 2.90 ERA, 1.30 WHIP) gets his first start since July 23, 2011 when he was moved to the Washington bullpen. Gorzelanny has turned it up in the second half of the season with a 1.33 ERA (4 earned runs in 27 innings) since the All Star Break. He has pitched two or more innings in 19 of his 44 appearances out of the bullpen this season. Tonight’s start is the 111th of his career. Overall as a starter, Gorzelanny is 35-42 with a 4.62 ERA with his best season coming with the Pirates in 2007 when he was 14-10 with a 3.88 ERA.
The Phillies are searching for their franchise best 10th consecutive winning season and they can clinch that with a win tonight. Entering the season the Phillies had the third longest consecutive winning season streak behind the Yankees (19 which they made 20) and the Red Sox (14 but lost it this year). The two teams tied for fourth behind the Phillies are the Cardinals and the Rays at four seasons a piece (which they both made five seasons this year). A winning season this year would be impressive given that the Phillies were 14 games under .500 (37-51) on July 13th. Despite their recent falter, the Phillies still boast the National League’s fifth best winning percentage .603 (44-29) in the second half of the season. Luckily for the aging Phillies, they have had an influx of youth this season with seven different players (RHP Rosenberg, RHP Cloyd, LHP Jake Diekman, RHP Philippe Aumont, OF/1B Darin Ruf, INF Freddy Galvis, and C Steven Lerud). That is the most since 2007 when seven different Phillies made their Major League debuts. If the newly called up RHP Tyson Brummett makes his debut, it will be the most Major League debuts in one season for the Phillies since 1996 when they had 15. As for milestones, Chase Utley needs one more homerun for 200 and, even though he is not in the lineup tonight, Carlos Ruiz needs one more RBI for 300 in his career.
The Nationals are still tied with the Reds for MLB’s best winning percentage. This series is important for home field advantage throughout the playoffs due to the National League’s victory in the All Star Game in Kansas City this past July. First baseman Adam LaRoche is still one RBI short of his second 100 RBI season of his career and first since he drove in 100 as a member of the Braves in 2006. The best the Nationals can do is even the season series with the Phillies but, in order to do that, they would need to win each of their remaining games. Much of the Nationals newfound success can be attributed to the boatload of new talent and the man managing the talent. Since taking over as manager on June 26, 2011 after Jim Riggleman resigned, Davey Johnson and the Nationals are 136-107 (.560). Johnson is a former AL Manager of the Year (with Baltimore in 1997) and his former team (the Orioles) just clinched their first playoff birth since he was managing the team.
1. Frandsen 3B
2. Mayberry CF
3. Utley 2B
4. Wigginton 1B
5. Ruf LF
6. Brown RF
7. Kratz C
8. Martinez SS
9. Rosenberg P
First pitch tonight is slated for 7:05 pm. Despite thunderstorms earlier in the day in D.C., it looks like they will get this game in tonight. The final game of the season tomorrow for the Phillies is scheduled for 1:05 pm so this might be the last time many fans will get to watch them on television. The game can be seen on Comcast Sportsnet and heard on 94.1 WIP.
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