The Washington Nationals have not been performing like a team cruising toward the playoffs, allowing six runs per game while losing six of their last eight contests. Washington sends Tanner Roark to the mound to try and turn things around Monday when they visit the National League East-rival Philadelphia Phillies for the opener of a three-game set.
Rookie Trea Turner has remained hot during the Nationals' swoon, recording multiple hits in six consecutive games while going a sizzling 16-for-28 during that span to raise his average to .345. Roark is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts against the Phillies this season and is two away from his career high of 15 wins in 2014 for Washington, which leads the NL East by eight games. Highly-regarded rookie Jake Thompson will go for the Phillies, who defeated the New York Mets 5-1 on Sunday for only their fourth victory in 11 games. Philadelphia took four of six games against the Nationals in April, but has dropped the last six to the Nationals by a combined 38-16.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN2 (Washington), CSN Philadelphia
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Tanner Roark (13-7, 2.99 ERA) vs. Phillies RH Jake Thompson (1-3, 9.78)
Roark is winless in his last two starts while allowing eight runs over 11 1/3 innings after winning the previous four outings. The 29-year-old Illinois product gave up three homers in the past two games, but is 6-2 on the road and has limited left-handed hitters to a .211 average in 2016. Cesar Hernandez is 4-for-9 versus Roark, who is 4-5 with a 4.35 ERA in his career over 10 games (eight starts) against the Phillies.
Thompson struggled through his first four major league starts, permitting 21 runs in 19 1/3 innings overall and posting one victory against Colorado in which he yielded three tallies in five frames. The 22-year-old was picked in the second round by Detroit in 2012 then traded to Texas before coming to Philadelphia in the Cole Hamels deal last season. Thompson was 11-5 with a 2.50 ERA in 21 starts at Triple-A Lehigh Valley earlier this season.
1. Philadelphia C A.J. Ellis, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier in the week, went 1-for-4 with a two-run double in his debut with the team Sunday.
2. Washington RF Bryce Harper is 10-for-25 with six RBIs during a six-game hitting streak.
3. The Phillies have committed just one error in the last 10 games (75 overall) and the Nationals own the second-least errors in the NL with 61.
PREDICTION: Nationals 6, Phillies 3
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