Following a rare productive game at the plate, the Washington Nationals are hoping to have their scruffy-looking manager clean-shaven by the end of their five-game homestand.
The Nationals will attempt to build on a resurgent offensive effort as they go for their eighth win in 11 home games Saturday night against the Philadelphia Phillies.Washington (25-23) scored its most runs in a week and plated four in an inning for the first time in almost a month in a 5-2 victory over Philadelphia on Friday.While it might not have been enough for manager Davey Johnson to get his razor out, it was plenty for Jordan Zimmermann, who became the first eight-game winner in the NL.Johnson said before the game that he wouldn't shave again until his team started hitting. The Nationals totaled nine runs and batted .189 while losing four of five to wrap up their recent West Coast road trip."My wife, she probably wants me to take it off, I'm sure she does," Johnson said. "But I might leave it on, see if this is not something strange happening here."Washington will try to prove Johnson right by providing some run support for Dan Haren (4-5, 5.54 ERA), who has received 20 runs in his wins but four in his losses.After going 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA over his previous four starts, the right-hander allowed three runs in the first inning and was gone after a four-run fifth in a 13-4 defeat to San Diego on Sunday. He yielded seven runs and nine hits -- two homers.Haren has posted an 0-3 record and 6.14 ERA in four career starts against Philadelphia.Michael Young has faced Haren more than any Phillie, batting .328 with one homer in 58 at-bats.Ryan Howard went 1 for 4 with a double Friday and is batting .381 during a five-game hitting streak, though he hasn't homered in 12 games. He's 1 for 6 with a home run and three strikeouts against Haren.The Phillies (23-25) missed a chance to reach .500 for the first time since April 14 and pull even with the Nationals for second place in the NL East."Obviously, we've kind of been up and down all year," losing pitcher Kyle Kendrick said.Teammate Jonathan Pettibone (3-0, 3.00) hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in six starts since replacing the injured John Lannan in the rotation.The left-hander has been much better at home, though, going 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts as opposed to 1-0 with a 5.06 ERA in two road outings.Pettibone makes his first career appearance against the Nationals, who are hitting a major league-worst .196 versus left-handers.Bryce Harper is hitting .163 with two homers in 43 at-bats versus lefties, while Adam LaRoche is batting .195 with two homers in 41 at-bats against them.Washington's Steve Lombardozzi, playing second while Danny Espinosa recovers from a broken wrist, had three hits Friday, including a two-run double that capped the rally in the four-run fifth.Washington's previous four-run inning came April 25 against Cincinnati.