Phillies vs. Nationals
7:15 p.m. on FOX
For the first time all season, the Phillies have half of their lineup hot simultaneously.
The Phils beat the Nationals, 6-2, Friday night for their fifth straight win (see story). In this back-and-forth four-week stretch leading into the All-Star break, the Phils have had two five-game winning streaks and a six-game losing streak.
The end result has them at 42-51 with two games left before the first half ends. They are eight games behind the division-leading Nats and Braves and 8 1/2 games out of the wild-card.
Here are five things you need to know as the Phillies look for their longest winning streak since September 2012:
Start a fire
Jimmy Rollins said after Friday's win that he hopes this hot streak "turns into a fire."
It's certainly spreading through the lineup. Rollins went 2 for 4 with two homers and three RBIs Friday. Over his last three games, he's 5 for 12 with three homers, seven RBIs and five runs.
Rollins has 11 homers and 39 RBIs on the season. His full-season projection is 19 homers. Last year he hit six.
Chase Utley is also heating back up after a prolonged cold spell. Utley had his fourth multi-hit game in five nights Friday. In that handful of games he's raised his batting average from .286 to .297 and his OPS from .776 to .806.
Marlon Byrd remains a consistent force in the five-hole. He had two hits, including his 20th double, against Washington. He remains on pace for 79 extra-base hits. Only nine different Phillies -- Ryan Howard, Rollins, Jim Thome, Bobby Abreu, Scott Rolen, Juan Samuel, Mike Schmidt, Dick Allen and Chuck Klein -- have ever had that many XBH in a season. Howard was the last to do it in 2009.
And then there's Ben Revere, who has a sore ankle but has hit .387 over his last 15 games.
Hamels on the hill
The Phillies didn't provide Cole Hamels with a ton of run support last Monday, but they did score early for him, which is nearly as important.
The Phils gave Hamels a 3-0 lead Monday in Milwaukee and he made it stand up for his third win of the season. Hamels enters Saturday night 3-5 with a 2.87 ERA.
Hamels is the first Phillies pitcher since 1912 to have just three wins despite an ERA under 3.00 in his first 15 starts of a season. The issue has been run support. The Phillies have scored 18 runs for Hamels in his three wins but just 22 in his other 12 starts, an average of 1.8 per game.
Hamels hasn't faced the Nationals this season. From 2011-13, he went 6-3 against the Nats in 10 starts with a 2.34 ERA and .220 opponents' batting average.
Outfielder Scott Hairston has destroyed Hamels and should earn a start based on merit. He's 15 for 38 (.395) lifetime against Hamels with five homers and five doubles.
Left-handed hitting Adam LaRoche is 10 for 34 (.294) against Hamels with four homers of his own.
Former teammate Jayson Werth is just 3 for 22 (.136) with six strikeouts.
Another crack at Strasburg
In a marquee matchup, Hamels faces Stephen Strasburg, who was snubbed from the All-Star Game despite going a 7-6 record, 3.47 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 119 1/3 innings.
Strasburg has faced the Phillies twice in 2014. He allowed three unearned runs in the first inning of a Nats win on May 2 and then cruised from there. On June 4, he struck out 11 Phillies over seven innings in another Washington victory.
All told, Strasburg is 3-1 with a 2.32 ERA in eight starts against the Phillies. In 50 1/3 innings, he has struck out 58 batters and walked just six.
Rollins is 2 for 24 against Strasburg with 11 strikeouts. Utley is 2 for 16. Domonic Brown is 2 for 12 with six strikeouts.
Byrd has hit him the best of any Phillie, going 4 for 12 with a homer and a double.
Despite Friday's win, the Nats have had the Phillies' number of late.
The Phils have lost 11 of their last 16 games against the Nationals. They've been outscored, 86-49, and out-hit, 151-119.
That's an average score of 7.2 to 4.1 and an average of 12.6 hits allowed by the Phillies.
The days of sustained dominance over Washington are long gone. From 2007-11, the Phillies went 59-31 against the Nats, a .656 winning percentage.
Keep the chain moving
During this last cycle through the Phillies' rotation, Hamels, A.J. Burnett, Roberto Hernandez and David Buchanan have combined to allow just five earned runs and 19 hits in 29 1/3 innings for a 1.53 ERA.
Burnett is back in a groove, and if Cliff Lee isn't traded before July 31 it will be interesting to see what the trio of Lee-Hamels-Burnett can do over a two-month period. Hamels made his season debut just three weeks before Lee went on the shelf himself, so the Phillies haven't had their projected rotation much at all in 2014.