Nationals' Saturday Night Lineup: Taylor Jordan vs Cliff Lee In D.C.

Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Washington Nationals' right-hander Taylor Jordan takes on the Philadelphia Phiillies' Cliff Lee tonight in Nationals Park where the two teams play the second game of a three-game weekend set. Can the Nationals make it two straight after knocking John Lannan around last night?

Taylor Jordan started the sixth inning of his last start, on the road in Milwaukee's Miller Park, with a 4-1 lead and 71 pitches overall on his arm after five innings in which he'd given up just two hits a walk and the one run on an RBI groundout by Brewers' slugger Juan Francisco. Jordan threw just 14 pitches in the sixth, recording one out and surrendering another two hits, another walk and one of three runs he'd be charged with which tied the game up at 4-4. Fernando Abad would give up two runs of his own as well to put the Nats behind 6-4 in what ended up an 8-5 loss.

"Taylor was throwing a heck of a ballgame," Davey Johnson said afterwards, trying to explain the sudden change. "It seemed like he had them well in hand. I think he had [71] pitches going into the sixth inning and he just -- I don't know if it's just inexperience or whatever, but he just seemed to kind of lose it."

"I think I started running out of gas in the sixth inning," Jordan told reporters in Miller Park. "I think the balls were elevated a little bit. I was trying too hard. I think I lost a little bit of life. The balls started to cut a little bit, so." Jordan said after the outing that he'd been told he likely has four starts left this season in his first full year back following Tommy John surgery in 2011. Through seven starts in the majors, the 24-year-old, '09 9th Round pick is (1-3) with a 3.76 ERA, 3.29 FIP, seven walks (1.55 BB/9) and 23 Ks (5.09 K/9) in 40 2/3 IP over which he's allowed just two home runs (0.44 HR/9).

After 131 IP so far in 2013 between High-A Potomac, Double-A Harrisburg and the majors, Jordan's allowed just three home runs total on the year (0.21 HR/9). Jordan faces Philadelphia tonight in Nationals Park, and faces the Phillies for the second time this season after dropping a decision to the Nats' NL East rivals back on July 9th in Citizens Bank Park, giving up eight hits, a walk and four runs, three earned, in 5 1/3 IP of a 4-2 loss.

As the Nationals' Game Notes mention, both teams will likely have to hit their way on tonight as Jordan (1.55 BB/9) and Cliff Lee (1.44 BB/9) match up in the second game of three for the Phillies in D.C. Lee's BB/9 are the third-lowest in the majors, tied with the A's Bartolo Colon behind only the Rays' David Price (1.21 BB/9) and the Cards' Adam Wainwright (1.08 BB/9). Jordan would rank 6th lowest in the majors on that list if he maintained the same pace over enough innings to qualify for the leaderboard.

Lee faces the Nationals franchise for the 11th time in his 12-year MLB career. In his first 10 outings, the lefty is (6-4) with two complete games, two shutouts, a 2.74 ERA, 11 HR (1.37 HR/9), 8 BB (1.00 BB/9), 72 Ks (8.96 K/9) and a 1.09 WHIP in 72 1/3 IP. Four of the 11 HRs the Nationals have hit off Lee came in his last start vs the Nats, when they beat the lefty and the Phillies 5-1 in CBP.

Here's the Nationals' lineup that will take the veteran lefty on tonight in the nation's capital:

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