The Washington Times - May 5, 2011, 02:42PM

PHILADELPHIA – Tonight in Philadelphia, the Nationals are once again faced with the task of avoiding a sweep.

All they have to do is beat Roy Halladay. Sounds simple enough, right?


All joking aside, as tough as Halladay was in throwing a complete game against the Nationals in Washington last month, as Matt Stairs pointed out last night, one more hit and they could have beaten him.

The Nationals had a chance to win the game in ninth inning against Halladay but both Ivan Rodriguez and Matt Stairs struck out to end it.

We knew the road trip was going to be tough with the pitching we’re going to face,” Stairs said Wednesday night after the Nationals dropped two games below .500 just two games in to a nine-game road trip through Philadelphia, Florida and Atlanta.

Roy pitched tough against us last time but one hit away and we could have won that game in the ninth inning. I struck out. We’re going to come out tomorrow and we’re going to battle.”

John Lannan draws the unenviable task of pitching against Halladay and quieting a Phillies lineup that has tagged the Nationals for 11 runs off 23 hits the past two games.

Here’s a look at how the Nationals have done in the past against 2010 NL Cy Young winner Halladay:

Danny Espinosa: 1-for-7 (.143), 1 RBI, 2 K

Rick Ankiel: 2-for-5 (.400), 1 2B, 2 BB, .571 OBP

Jayson Werth: 1-for-5 (.200), 3 K

Adam LaRoche: 3-for-11 (.273), 3 K

Wilson Ramos: 1-for-3 (.333)

Michael Morse: 0-for-6, 1 K

Ian Desmond: 2-for-12 (.167), 2 BB, 4 K

Jerry Hairston Jr: 2-for-25 (.080), 2 BB, 7 K

John Lannan: 0-for-4, 2 K


Ivan Rodriguez: 14-for-39 (.359), 3 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, .359 OBP, .590 SLG, 8 K

Matt Stairs: 10-for-27 (.370), 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, .414 OBP, .519 SLG, 4 K

Alex Cora: 3-for-26 (.115), 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, .148 OBP, 3 K

Laynce Nix: 3-for-7 (.429), 1 2B, 1 RBI, .500 OBP