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Open Thread...9/23/07 Phillies vs Nationals Game 4 of 4

Game four of four in RFK Stadium, Washington, DC features:

Cole Hamels (14-5, 3.59) vs Joel Hanrahan (4-3, 6.45)

     Philadelphia is 1.5 games behind Division leading New York in the NL East standings heading into the Sunday matinee of their four game series with the Washington Nationals, who close out their affiliation with RFK Stadium in today's high noon start. The last day in RFK. The last home game of the season.

     Philadelphia turns to their oft-injured ace Cole Hamels, who makes only his second start since a month on the sidelines with elbow issues. In Hamels first game back on September 18th in St.Louis, the lanky left-hander pitched three pitch-count-dictated innings, during which he gave up 5 hits and 3 runs in a 7-4 Philly win. Hamels last time out against Washington was on July 25th, another win in which Hamels lasted 7 innings, and allowed 6 hits and 2 runs, with 1 HR hit.

     Hamels has faced the Nationals seven times already in his two Major League season, amassing a (3-2) record against DC while pitching 44.0 innings, allowing 16 earned runs, 2 HR's and 12 walks with 41 K's for a 3.27 ERA. The Phillies will need a healthy Hamels and his 14 wins and 158 K's on the year if their late season dash actually pays off in a playoff spot.

     The Nationals need Joel Hanrahan to throw strikes. In his last three starts, the rookie right-hander has allowed 12 free passes in 9.2 innings combined, during which he's given up 17 hits and 13 runs, with 3 HR's hit against him. Hanrahan made his Major League debut on July 28th, so he's only faced Philadelphia once in his career, at home in RFK on August 16, in a 4-2 Nationals loss to which Hanrahan contributed 5.0 innings of pitches and gave up 2 of the 4 runs allowed while walking 4 and striking out 8.

     But the question remains...

     Will Big Head Teddy Roosevelt finally win his first Big Head President's Race? In the last few days we've watched Lincoln and Jefferson trip Teddy, allowing the dandy Washington to take one race, while a "phantom-trip" in a tight race felled Teddy in another. Teddy will not be distracted by BIG ice cream cones, or adoring fans. Teddy will bring this one home. Maybe he needs to call in some help from another Ex-President...