Rolled into the nation's capital this morning. Actually, rolled into Greenbelt, MD, which is where I'm staying, because it is probably cheaper to by a modest three bedroom house in Alexandria than it is to rent a hotel room inside the district.
First impressions of the new park? It's nice. The press box is higher up than most places, but it affords a nice view of the capitol building, tucked behind some office buildings and parking garages in the foreground.
Here's the set-up for this series:
1) The Phils enter having lost two straight and five of their last eight. They are hitting .270 with 12 home runs as a team during that span, but they stranded 19 baserunners in back-to-back losses to the Blue Jays.
2) The Nationals are coming off a 2-1 win over the Orioles yesterday. The Nats are 19-26 this season, fifth in the division. The Phils are 24-21 and in third.
3) Tim Redding, the Nats' starter tonight, one-hit the Phils back in the season-opening series. The Phils lost that game 1-0.
4) Here's the Toronto Star's take on things, including the appearance of Roy Halladay out of the bullpen yesterday.
5) Brett Myers takes another shot tonight. He's pitched some good games this year, but last week was not one of them. I talked to John Smoltz earlier this week when the Braves were in town, figuring he might have some insight in making the transition from the bullpen to the rotation. His viewpoint basically boils down to this: relax. Myers didn't suddenly lose his stuff. Maybe he's lost a couple of ticks off his fastball, but that's nothing that will completely derail his career. Smoltz is convinced the Phillies' righty will find himself, and when he does, he'll be back to being the starter he was before he moved to the bullpen last season.