The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner seeks a third straight stellar outing Wednesday night when he takes the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies trying to win his ninth straight decision against the Washington Nationals.
Halladay (1-0, 0.69 ERA) has been outstanding in his first two starts this season, allowing one run and 11 hits over 13 innings while walking one and striking out 13.
After failing to earn a decision opening day against Houston, the right-hander gave up six hits and struck out seven in seven innings of an 11-0 win over the New York Mets on Thursday.
“I don’t think that he was as sharp as he probably wanted to be today, but that’s what makes him great,” New York’s David Wright(notes) told the Phillies’ official website. “He goes out there and still finds a way to put up zeros. I can’t remember the last time we faced him where we got him in so many three-ball counts, and he still found a way to work his way out of jams and pitch deep into the ballgame.”
Halladay recorded three of his 21 victories last season against the Nationals. He posted a 0.39 ERA in those three starts, pitching one complete game while allowing one run and 16 hits over 23 innings.
He is 8-1 with a 1.96 ERA in 12 career appearances against the Nationals franchise, winning eight consecutive decisions and seven straight starts against them.
He’ll try to help Philadelphia (7-3) avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in 2011 after a 7-4 loss to Washington (5-5) on Tuesday.
Ryan Howard(notes) homered in the second inning, but the Nationals scored three runs in the fifth and Jayson Werth’s(notes) homer against his former team in the fifth made it 5-1. Washington has won four or five and has scored seven runs in each of the last two games.
Werth, who came in batting .200 after signing a $126 million, seven-year contract with the Nationals this offseason, also had a double to lead off the fourth before coming around to score.
“Anytime you hit a home run you’re going to have some satisfaction,” Werth said. “Was it extra special against those guys? Probably a little bit.”
Washington is going to need Werth to heat up quickly as third baseman Ryan Zimmerman(notes), who was batting .357, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with an abdominal strain. First baseman Adam LaRoche(notes) (groin) sat out a second straight game as well.
Werth will try to build off the performance and help the Nationals move a game over .500 for the first time since May 28.
Lannan is 0-8 with a 6.09 ERA in 11 starts against Philadelphia, going 0-2 with a 6.91 ERA in three outings last year.
The left-hander, though, has pitched fairly well in his first two starts this season, yielding four runs over 10 innings. He gave up three runs and seven hits in five innings of a 5-3, 11-winning win at Florida on Thursday.