Philadelphia (72-62) at Washington (69-65)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Washington, DC
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Sep 2, 2005
  • TV: CSN, WDCA
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies are clinging to the National League wild-card lead, while the Washington Nationals are just hoping to stay in the postseason hunt.

The National League East rivals will look to improve their playoff chances as they open a three-game series at Washington’s RFK Stadium.

The Phillies won the last two games of their three-game series with the New York Mets, including Thursday’s 3-1 victory. They lead the NL wild-card race by a half-game over the Houston Astros and trail the division-leading Atlanta Braves by four games.

“Right now, we’re very confident. We’re not letting one loss turn into two,” closer Billy Wagner said.

The Phillies rallied to beat Pedro Martinez on Wednesday before defeating Tom Glavine in the series finale. Ryan Howard homered Thursday for Philadelphia, which had lost three straight before its current winning streak.

After their series with Washington, the Phillies will host wild-card rivals Houston and Florida, and then the Braves.

“Everybody’s playing each other right now,” Howard said. “People are knocking heads, Two out of three will be good anywhere you go.”

The Nationals split their four-game series with Atlanta, falling 8-7 in 10 innings to the Braves on Thursday. Vinny Castilla had four RBIs for Washington, which came back from a 7-1 deficit.

The Nationals, who are in last place in the highly competitive East, trail the Phillies by three games and the Braves by seven.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Padilla Bos vs. J. Halama Oak
9-12 Record 1-4
4.71 ERA 5.68
103 K 37
74 BB 17
1.50 WHIP 1.48