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GameThread: Washington @ Philadelphia - 2008 Game 2 of 162.

Matt Chico (0-0, 0.00) vs Brett Myers (0-0, 0.00)

What no Cole Hamels? For the second time in their four-year existence, the Washington Nationals open up Citizens Bank Ballpark and the Philadelphia Phillies' season in today's 3:00 PM EST matchup, with the 1st Place Nationals throwing lefty Matt Chico and the Phillies countering with right-hander Brett Myers to start their 2008 compaign in defense of the NL East Pennant. The first time the Nationals played here (ed. note - "In this bandbox.") on Opening Day was in the Nationals' Inaugural 2005 season, a game which ended in an 8-4 DC loss to the Phillies, in the first game by a Washington-based MLB team in 33 years, which was for some reason played on the road, and featured Terrmel Sledge's first HR in the new-Nationals' franchise history. (ed. note- "That'll be a tough trivia question years from now.")

(MLB.com's Bill Ladson's 4/4/05 article, "Nationals fall to Phillies in club's debut.")

Matt Chico, 24, was (1-0) in 2 career starts against the Phillies in his rookie season last year. Chico posted a 4.22 ERA in 10.2 IP, allowing 10 hits, 5 ER, 8 walks and 1 HR, while striking out 6 Phillies, (ed. note - "Including 1 of Ryan Howard's miraculous 199 K's. I thought Wilkerson used to be a strike-out-machine, but Wilky never hit 58, or 47 HR's I guess."), as Chico worked his way to a (7-9) record in 31 starts and 167.0 IP in his first season pitching above Double-AA ball.

Philly righty Brett Myers, 27, begins his seventh MLB season this afternoon in Phil-a-Del-Phi, and starts the 143rd game in his career on the mound, out of which he's combined for a (7-7) record in 16 starts against the Nationals' franchise. The Nationals have 112 hits off Myers in 105.0 innings facing the Jacksonville, Florida born right-hander, scoring 59 runs on 15 HR's against, to put up a 4.89 ERA against Myers.

The Nationals' Starting Lineup...

Cristian Guzman SS

Lastings Milledge CF

Ryan ZIMMERMAN!!! 3B

Nick Johnson 1B

Austin Kearns RF

Paul Lo Duca C

Ronnie Belliard 2B

Willie Harris LF

Nationals' TOPIC FOR DISCUSSION: Are the Nationals gonna go with Willie Harris until Elijah Dukes and Wily Mo Pena come back? Right now Harris and Rob Mackowiak are the only outfielders on the roster as the Nationals called up Chris Schroder when Dukes went on the DL. Who should they call up if Dukes and Pena are out an extended period of time?

Nationals #'s against Brett Myers -

Lo Duca - .324 AVG, 11 hits in 34 AB's, 1 2B, 2 HR, 2 RBI's, 3 K's.

Cristian Guzman - .313 AVG, 1 RBI, 5 hits in 16 AB's.

Nick Johnson - 2 doubles, 1 HR, 3 RBI's, 8 K's in 19 AB's.

Ryan Zimmerman - .450 AVG, 9 hits in 20 AB's, 3 2B, 1 HR, 11 RBI's.

Anybody watching?...What will Zimmerman do today?