Struggling Burnett leads Phils against hot Nats


Jul 23, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett (34) pitches during the first inning of a game against the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Phillies open a series against one of baseball’s hottest teams, the Washington Nationals, on Monday night with veteran A.J. Burnett on the mound.

Burnett hasn’t won in his last seven starts, losing the last six.  The Nationals have won nine of their last ten and put up 14 runs in their previous game.

The Phillies haven’t been able to capitalize on Burnett’s poor outings recently and he has been less than sharp against Washington this season.  In 21.1 innings against the Nationals this season he has given up 16 runs, 12 of them earned, on 21 hits.  Of Burnett’s National League-leading 76 walks this season, 12 of them have come against the Nationals.

The Nationals’ Bryce Harper has recently started to pick up his slack at the plate and he brings a .308 lifetime batting average with a home run and two doubles against Burnett into Monday’s game.  Adam LaRoche is 12-for-32 lifetime against Burnett with seven extra-base hits and six runs batted in.  The hot-hitting Jayson Werth has for the most part been bested by the veteran righty, going 2-for-24, although both hits were home runs.

The much younger Tanner Roark (12-7, 2.80) will start for the Nationals.  The 27-year-old has gone at least seven innings in seven of his last ten starts, earning the win in five of them.  In 11 innings against the Phillies in 2014 he has given up eight earned runs on 11 hits with 11 strikeouts.  Both Cody Asche and Ryan Howard have gone yard on Roark.

Should Phillies’ leadoff man, Ben Revere, stay on his current path of hitting he’ll prove a tough out for Roark.  In his last ten games, the outfielder has multiple hits in six of them and a stolen base in six games also.  He is currently second in the National League in batting average with .314 and third in stolen bases with 38.

Nationals lineup:

Span CF

Rendon 3B

Werth RF

LaRoche 1B

Desmond SS

Harper LF

Ramos C

Espinosa 2B

Roark P

Phillies lineup:

Revere CF

Rollins SS

Utley 2B

Howard 1B

Byrd RF

Brown LF

Ruiz C

Asche 3B

Burnett P