Little known fact No. 1: The Nationals have won six consecutive games against the Phillies, and 10 of their last 12 head-to-head encounters, dating back to last year. Little known fact No. 2: The Nats have won 12 consecutive one-run games at Nationals Park, dating back to last year.
Can they keep both streak alive this afternoon? It all starts with Gio Gonzalez, a one-time Phillies farmhand who will face his old organization for the first time. The left-hander seeks his third win of the season, and seeks to keep his ERA under 2.00 with another strong outing.
Gonzalez could certainly benefit from some run support. Davey Johnson is fielding the same lineup he scribbled out last night, the only change coming behind the plate (Wilson Ramos, last night's hero, will start and bat eighth). One other thing to keep in mind: Henry Rodriguez has pitched the last three nights. You wouldn't think he's available today, but Johnson tried to suggest he'd use his closer as long as Rodriguez doesn't ask out. We'll see.
Plenty of updates to come, so please check the Nats Insider live game thread...
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WNEW (1580 AM), XM 184
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 76 degrees, Wind 8 mph in from CF
SS Ian Desmond
3B Steve Lombardozzi
LF Bryce Harper
RF Jayson Werth
1B Chad Tracy
2B Danny Espinosa
CF Rick Ankiel
C Wilson Ramos
LHP Gio Gonzalez
SS Jimmy Rollins
3B Placido Polanco
CF Shane Victorino
RF Hunter Pence
C Carlos Ruiz
1B Ty Wigginton
LF John Mayberry Jr.
2B Freddy Galvis
RHP Vance Worley
HP Sam Holbrook, 1B Andy Fletcher, 2B D.J. Reyburn, 3B Rob Drake
Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez became the first former Nationals player (2005-present) to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Wednesday. He was inducted in his first year of eligibility, marking the 52nd first-ballot hall of famer in history.
Rodriguez, who was the first free agent signed by current Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, played the final two seasons of his career with Washington in 2010-11. During his time in D.C. he hit .254 six homers and 68 RBI. Pudge's greatest contribution to the Nationals came from his leadership and work ethic. He guided Stephen Strasburg through his rookie season and also helped develop Wilson Ramos so he could pass the torch to him.
During his 21-year career, Pudge made 14 all-star teams, won 13 gold gloves, won seven silver slugger awards, led his league in caught-steeling percentage nine times, and was named American League MVP in 1999 with the Texas Rangers. He became a World Series champion in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. Pudge's 13 gold gloves are the most ever by a catcher, and his 2,844 career hits are the most ever by a player who appeared in 50 percent or more of their career games as a catcher.
In addition to Rodriguez, former Montreal Expos great Tim Raines was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Raines is the franchise leader (Expos/Nationals) in walks (793), runs (947), stolen bases (635) and triples (82). Raines was an all-star seven times and he won a silver slugger in 1986 with the Expos. He is the only player in MLB history with at least 100 triples, 150 homers and 600 RBI in a career, and the only player to steal at least 70 bases in six consecutive seasons.
Related: Bryce Harper wants Nationals to spend money on players, not team store
Bryce Harper isn't one to keep his opinions to himself. The Nationals slugger is outspoken about what he wants, whether that's to "Make Baseball Fun Again" or to make at least $400 million on his next contract.
On Wednesday, he gave his take on how the Nats should be investing their money this summer. Here's Harper responding to a tweet from ESPN's Jim Bowden.
Harper's message: Players over everything else. Sorry, gift shop.
It's plain to see where the 2015 NL MVP is going with this. Obviously, he wants as much talent around him as possible for a chance to win the World Series.
Matt Wieters, a four-time All-Star catcher, and Greg Holland, a two-time All-Star closer, could be significant additions to Washington's roster.
Harper is set to become a free agent in 2018, at which point an organization like the New York Yankees will be prepared to offer him both a massive salary and a massive investment in the players around him.
The slugger probably hopes his current team will try to surround him with winning pieces in an effort to keep him. But if a report about the Nationals' reaction to his contract demands proves accurate, they may have another agenda.
There's Harper drama around the Nationals? Just a regular Wednesday here in Washington.
MORE NATIONALS: Nationals avoid arbitration with Harper, three others