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Philadelphia Phillies vs Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats look to clinch NL East

The Washington Nationals’ magic number is down to six as the Philadelphia Phillies come to town.

Philadelphia Phillies v San Francisco Giants Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Phillies (53-86) vs. Nationals (85-54) Series Info:

Game 1: Thursday, Sept. 7 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Friday, Sept. 8 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 3: Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Game 4: Sunday, Sept. 10 at 1:35 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: Aaron Nola (0-2, 6.63 ERA) vs. Tanner Roark (2-2, 4.34)

Friday: Jake Thompson (7-11, 4.75) vs. Max Scherzer (12-5, 2.23)

Saturday: Mark Leiter (7-11, 4.75) vs. Edwin Jackson (12-5, 2.23)

Sunday: Ben Lively (3-12, 5.88) vs. TBA (Stephen Strasburg? A.J. Cole?)

What to watch for:

Bryce Harper, he lives!

Ladies and gentlemen, Bryce Harper has officially been sighted doing baseball activity on a field.

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves — there’s still no timetable on his return — but in light of the news about his calf injury it’s encouraging to see Harper moving around.

Now, about that haircut

Clinching the division is in reach

Entering play Thursday, the Nationals’ magic number sits at six.

The team is embarking on a 10-game homestand, putting it well within its reach to clinch the NL East at its own ballpark.

Get the champagne ready, folks.

J.P. Crawford finally gets his chance

After making his MLB debut Tuesday, former No. 1 prospect J.P. Crawford has finally broken into the major leagues.

A down year last season took a hit on his prospect status, but Crawford still boats tremendous upside and a solid glove on the left side of the infield.

Rhys Hoskins has already hit the ground running, Crawford very well could be next.

Who to watch out for: Cesar Hernandez

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at San Francisco Giants Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Cesar Hernandez is hitting .289 with 23 doubles and 14 stolen bases in 107 games this season, making him one of the most productive hitters in the Phillies’ lineup.

He owns a .943 OPS with five extra-base hits in 12 games against the Nats this season, his highest OPS against any team he’s played at least eight games against.

Hernandez is often forgotten among the young talent Philadelphia has accumulated during its rebuild, but he’s one of the most crucial bats in its lineup.