CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

O'Connor set to face Phillies

Nats open long homestand with four vs. Phils

The Nationals kick off their longest homestand of the season by welcoming the Philadelphia Phillies to RFK for a four-game weekend series.

The 11-game homestand continues with four against Colorado and concludes with three games against the New York Yankees.

This will be the third series of the season between the Nationals and Phillies and the first in Washington, with each team having taken one. The series were diametric opposites, as in mid-April Washington took two of three, scoring 26 runs and twice hitting double figures, but in late May, Philly returned the favor, winning two of three as the Nats scored a total of seven runs in three games.

With Wednesday's win in Atlanta, the Nats come home having won six of their last seven games after dropping the first two of the nine-game road trip, and five of their last six series. Only six games below .500, Washington manager Frank Robinson credits the turnaround to the last time his squad saw the Phillies, on May 31 at Citizens Bank Park, a 3-2 Washington victory.

"Probably the key to this road trip was the last game in Philadelphia, winning that ballgame," said Robinson, whose club is 14-6 over it's last 20 games. "It kind of set us up for Milwaukee. We swept them. You don't go in thinking sweep but we swept them and that now makes it a four-game winning streak rather than 3-3. You're 4-2 on the trip already and things kind of carried over."

The Phillies begin the final leg of an 11-game road trip after sweeping Arizona. They are 5-2 overall on the road trip.

Pitching matchup
PHI: LHP Eude Brito (0-1, 13.50 ERA)
Making only his sixth professional start, Brito was hit hard by the Dodgers in his 2006 debut (six runs on nine hits in four innings) on Saturday. He allowed two runs and six hits over four innings in an appearance against Washington last Sept. 3.

WAS: LHP Mike O'Connor (2-3, 3.25 ERA)
Although winless in his last five starts, the rookie left-hander has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his nine appearances. In his first career game against Philadelphia, he allowed three earned runs and five hits through five, but had to leave in the sixth inning after getting hit on the left ankle by a Chase Utley line drive.

Player to watch
Royce Clayton is riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he is hitting .367 (11-for-30), including his fourth three-hit game of the season against the Phillies on May 31.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• MASN

On radio
• WTWP 1500 AM and 107.7 FM

Up next
• Friday: Phillies (RHP Brett Myers, 4-2, 2.90) at Nationals (RHP Tony Armas, Jr., 6-3, 3.34), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Phillies (RHP Cory Lidle, 4-5, 4.83) at Nationals (RHP Livan Hernandez, 5-5, 5.16), 1:20 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Phillies (LHP Cole Hamels, 1-0, 2.65) at Nationals (RHP Shawn Hill, 0-1, 2.77), 1:05 p.m. ET

Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}