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Phillies about to face Nationals at like worst possible time

The red hot Nats are making their run, but now face their biggest challenge yet: Not losing any key players to injuries caused by fits of laughter while playing the Phillies.

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"Yes, this land will be my new home."
"Yes, this land will be my new home."
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals are a notoriously ignorant, violent bunch, always committing atrocities and then demanding to know just who in the hell do you think you are, having a problem with them committing atrocities. Why, just the other day, it took all Stephen Strasburg had not to put a 99 m.p.h. fastball through a little girl's brain.

Watch him remove his glove to deliver a disciplinary back hand for her actions, only for her natural child's speed to carry her away from his hateful grasp.

Yes, the Nationals have been dominant for almost two weeks now, and it's bringing out the dramatics in their  writers:

"The Nationals tested their capacity to invent ways to win for the past two weeks. Sunday afternoon, they expanded their imagination yet again, eschewing a miracle for brute force. One after another, like an insidious assembly line, Nationals hitters laced baseballs to every corner of the stadium..."

--Adam Kilgore, Washington Post

"insidious assembly line"

You heard it, folks; the Nationals lineup was a key innovation of the Industrial Era, but evil, which is somehow the same as having a really great day at the plate.

Over their ten game win streak, the Nationals only scored 46 runs (opponents scored 23). Seven of the ten games were one-run games, mostly due to that improbable string of walk-offs that had everybody giggling.

But the Phillies are heating up to! They've won two series in a row! They haven't done that since April. Ha, ha! I'd stay out the Phillies' way! You know. If I were you.


Heavy Hitters

Bryce Harper

Bryce has eight singles in his last six games! Not bad for one of those fringe players who is constantly in danger of being demoted because he isn't good enough. No RBI or walk off heroics or extra base hits, though.

Hopefully, Phillies pitching can keep him at bay. He's only hitting .308 lifetime vs. A.J. Burnett, .320 lifetime vs. Cole Hamels, and - sigh - .360 vs. Kyle Kendrick lifetime. Against Burnett and Kendrick he's got a 1.000+ OPS.

Jayson Werth

Where as Harper's contributions are theoretical, Werth's have become more inevitable. He's hitting .323 over the last month and .435 over the last two weeks, with nine hits and six RBI in his last six games. Things have really gone his way since he started listening to what the garden gnome baring his likeness would say when it whispered in his ear at night.

Anthony Rendon

Has been walking them off with his eyes closed.

Probable Starters

Tanner Roark vs. A.J. Burnett

The promising youngster with the name of a first-year film student's protagonist in a brooding drama vs. the inconsistent veteran who recently announced he was probably going to leave the game forever in a few weeks.

Roark threw 99 pitches in his last start; one walk, five hits, no runs, seven innings. Jimmy Rollins has the best beat on him, 3-for-7, but nobody has faced Roark that much in this lineup. Not being as dependable as a Strasburg or a Fister, Roark serves as the team's underdog, so that they can take advantage of every possible feel-good baseball trope. They just want the sugariest narrative, this team.

Burnett is kicking everyone's ass in walks, with 76. The closest guy (Travis Wood) is ten behind him. He will, as he has been, allow the Nationals to stay in the game just enough to win it. Does anyone know if the Nationals are good at dramatic wins by slim margins? God, I hope not.

Gio Gonzalez vs. Cole Hamels

We all know what's about to happen. These two are going to swap 1-2-3 innings until Ben Revere takes a bad route, Dom Brown loses his glove on the way to a ball then overthrows the cutoff man, and a run is allowed after Chooch accidentally stands too far in the base line. Suddenly it' 3-0 Nationals and the Phillies can't just expected to win a game with their best pitcher on the mound, can they?

Gonzalez apparently figured out how to throw a curveball again, and threw his own seven inning shutout start his last time out against Arizona. Hooray for Gio. He has not had a great year, but that's what happens when you put four really good pitchers next to each other on one rotation. Things go wrong. You don't just automatically win 102 games or something.

Hamels can keep doing what he's doing, being 10th in strikeouts in the NL, and fourth in ERA. But if you squint hard enough, you can see he's got some pretty important, unfixable problems.

wtf year is it again?

Doug Fister vs. Kyle Kendrick

Jesus Christ, does Kyle pitch, like every few days? Yeah, I guess he does. I guess that's exactly what his job is. Damn.

People were ready to sing Kendrick's praises after he allowed more runs in the first inning but then only one more for the rest of his six and a third innings. But he did still allow three runs off the bat (literally, ha ha ha #comedy) and see his first inning ERA creep closer to 10.00. He remains not a very good pitcher.

Or... does he.......

Yes he does.

Meanwhile, Fister recently had some skin cancer removed from his neck and mistook his teammate for a severed buffalo head, but is still sitting on a 2.38 ERA and has allowed only 15 walks over 124.2 innings this year.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Baseball league for tonight's MLB games. It's $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Jump in now. Here's the FanDuel link.