First things first: Yes, that banner is actually hanging from the scoreboard. And yes, pretty much every mention of Nationals Park in the entire building has been covered up and re-branded for the weekend. I'll let all of you decide how you feel about this stunt. Now, let's talk about some actual baseball...
Stephen Strasburg faces the Phillies tonight for only the second time. The previous outing, of course, represented the low point in his big-league career. Not because of how he pitched -- on Aug. 21, 2010, the rookie right-hander allowed one run on two hits, striking out six over 4 13 innings -- but because of what happened on his final pitch: a 91-mph change-up that snapped his ulnar collateral ligament.
Strasburg has certainly come a long way since that night at Citizens Bank Park. He'll enter this game with a 1.13 ERA (second-lowest in baseball). And he'll be charged tonight with leading the first-place Nationals to victory over the five-time NL East champs.
Plenty of updates to come, so please check Nats Insider's live game thread often...
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 89
Weather: Scattered storms, 80 degrees, Wind 5 mph LF to RF
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chad Tracy
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Jesus Flores
RHP Stephen Strasburg
SS Jimmy Rollins
LF Juan Pierre
3B Placido Polanco
RF Hunter Pence
CF Shane Victorino
1B Laynce Nix
C Carlos Ruiz
2B Pete Orr
RHP Kyle Kendrick
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.
Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.
Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.
Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight.
Ross showed no signs of the late April struggles that ended with a demotion to Triple-A Syracuse. He yielded five hits and a walk while striking out six, and retired 12 straight batters after a leadoff single to begin the game.
By the time Seattle finally put multiple runners aboard, Washington had already opened a 10-0 lead.
Rendon's second-inning shot around the left field foul pole made it 2-0.
Then Werth, Harper and Rendon all connected in the fourth, helping the Nationals score seven of their eight runs in the inning with two outs.
MORE NATIONALS: WATCH: Werth, Harper go back-to-back, Rendon hits 2 HRs in Nationals win
The Nationals had a big day at the plate Tuesday night.
Washington hit four home runs, including three in an eight-run fourth inning, in its 10-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon hit two home runs – the first a two-run blast to left field in the second inning and the second a three-run shot to center in the fourth. He finished the game 3-for-4 with five RBIs.
Prior to Rendon’s second homer in the fourth inning, left fielder Jayson Werth hit a two-run blast to left field, which was followed by a solo shot from right fielder Bryce Harper in the next at-bat.
Harper’s homer was measured at 450 feet.
At the end of the fourth, the Nationals led 10-0, which also included an RBI single from catcher Matt Wieters and an RBI triple from shortstop Trea Turner.
Tuesday night’s contest was the first of a three-game home series against the Mariners, who play in the American League. The Nationals and Mariners also will play Wednesday and Thursday.
Earlier this season in a 23-5 win over the New York Mets on April 30, Rendon went 6-for-6 with three home runs and 10 RBIs to become the first player to accomplish that feat since at least 1913. He now has seven homers this season.
Harper’s homer was his 14th of the season, tying him for first in the National League with the Atlanta Braves’ Freddie Freeman. The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge is first with 15.
Though he did not have a home run Tuesday night, Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has 13 for the season.
MORE NATIONALS: 2017 MLB Power Rankings: As Bryce Harper goes, so do the Nationals