Kyle Kendrick (10-12, 4.08 ERA)
Despite the Phillies playoff aspirations dying a quick death at the hand of the Marlins over the weekend, they still have something to play for. No, not pride, but a chance to keep the Nats from clinching the NL East. While the Nationals hold a three game lead over the Braves, Kyle Kendrick can do his part to delay the champagne bath. After experiencing a career-best stretch in August, Kendrick has come back down to earth. Wether he has done enough to earn a spot in the rotation for next year remains to be seen, but with the 2-year deal Ruben gave him last year he’s guaranteed to be back in 2013. Love him or hate him this won’t be the last time we see Kendrick take the mound for the Phillies. The least he can do is help spoil the Nationals celebration.
John Lannan (4-0, 4.23 ERA)
John Lannan’s season hasn’t been all roses and sunshine. He was the odd man out with the Nationals resurgent rotation, spending nearly the whole season down at AAA Syracuse. He took his demotion like a champ, and now that Stephen Strasburg has been reigned in, Lannan has found himself back on the mound in possibly the biggest game of the franchises history. Lannan is also auditioning for a spot in the playoff rotation behind Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmerman. Washington can probably get away with only three starters in the division series, but if they are fortunate enough to move on they’ll need someone else to step up.
The Phillies and Lannan are well acquainted with each other. Chase Utley is hitting .342 (13-38) with two bombs against the lefty, while Chooch is hitting .281 (7-25). Sadly, Ryan Howard’s 3 career home runs against Lannan won’t play a factor with his broken toe.
Kyle Kendrick is no stranger to the Nats either. Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond have feasted off of Kendrick, hitting .333 and .450 respectively. Young Bryce Harper has also enjoyed seeing Kendrick, taking him deep while racking up 5 hits in 9 at bats.
The Nationals should be hungry tonight with a chance to clinch the franchises first division title in DC, and first in over 30 years. Never count out the Phils though. There is no love lost between these two clubs, and the Phightins would love nothing more than to rain on their parade. If the team is goin’ out, they won’t go out lying down. The team will be following the gospels of rap before tonight’s series; take us out Cypress Hill!